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Mole-rat gene boosts mouse lifespan

Aug 25, 2023

Transgenic mice expressing the naked mole-rat hyaluronic acid synthase 2 gene (nmrHAS2) demonstrated increased hyaluronan, reduced cancer incidence, and enhanced lifespan and healthspan. This effect is linked to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of high molecular weight hyaluronic acid, indicating potential applications in anti-ageing therapies.

August 2023 – Nature


Key takeaways


  • Increased hyaluronan levels: The introduction of the naked mole-rat hyaluronic acid synthase 2 gene (nmrHAS2) in mice led to a significant increase in hyaluronan in various tissues. This is noteworthy as hyaluronan is linked to improved tissue homeostasis and cellular health, which are crucial for longevity
  • Reduction in cancer incidence: The nmrHAS2 mice exhibited a lower occurrence of spontaneous and induced cancers. This suggests that the hyaluronan produced by the nmrHAS2 gene plays a role in cancer resistance, a vital aspect for extending healthy lifespan
  • Extended lifespan and improved healthspan: These genetically modified mice not only lived longer but also showed signs of improved health during their extended lifespan. This indicates that the benefits of hyaluronan are not limited to longevity alone, but also encompass overall health quality, a key factor in ageing research
  • Anti-Inflammatory and antioxidant properties: High molecular weight hyaluronic acid, as observed in the nmrHAS2 mice, demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. These properties are essential in combating age-related inflammation and oxidative stress, two major contributors to the ageing process and associated diseases


Read the article at: Zhang, Zhihui, et al. “Increased Hyaluronan by Naked Mole-Rat Has2 Improves Healthspan in Mice.Nature, vol. 608, no. 7923, 23 Aug. 2023, pp. 1-6. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-023-06463-0.