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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Mechanisms of aging in senescence-accelerated mice

Todd A Carter1, Jennifer A Greenhall1, Shigeo Yoshida2, Sebastian Fuchs1, Robert Helton1, Anand Swaroop23, David J Lockhart4 and Carrolee Barlow15*

Author Affiliations

1 The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA

2 Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA

3 Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA

4 Ambit Biosciences, San Diego CA 92121, USA

5 Current address: BrainCells Inc., 10835 Road to the Cure, San Diego, CA 92121, USA

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Genome Biology 2005, 6:R48  doi:10.1186/gb-2005-6-6-r48

Published: 1 June 2005

Abstract

Background

Progressive neurological dysfunction is a key aspect of human aging. Because of underlying differences in the aging of mice and humans, useful mouse models have been difficult to obtain and study. We have used gene-expression analysis and polymorphism screening to study molecular senescence of the retina and hippocampus in two rare inbred mouse models of accelerated neurological senescence (SAMP8 and SAMP10) that closely mimic human neurological aging, and in a related normal strain (SAMR1) and an unrelated normal strain (C57BL/6J).

Results

The majority of age-related gene expression changes were strain-specific, with only a few common pathways found for normal and accelerated neurological aging. Polymorphism screening led to the identification of mutations that could have a direct impact on important disease processes, including a mutation in a fibroblast growth factor gene, Fgf1, and a mutation in and ectopic expression of the gene for the chemokine CCL19, which is involved in the inflammatory response.

Conclusion

We show that combining the study of inbred mouse strains with interesting traits and gene-expression profiling can lead to the discovery of genes important for complex phenotypes. Furthermore, full-genome polymorphism detection, sequencing and gene-expression profiling of inbred mouse strains with interesting phenotypic differences may provide unique insights into the molecular genetics of late-manifesting complex diseases.