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Telomeres are elongated in older individuals in a hibernating rodent, the edible dormouse ( Glis glis )

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Telomere shortening is thought to be an important biomarker for life history traits such as lifespan and aging, and can be indicative of genome integrity, survival probability and the risk of cancer development. In humans and other animals, telomeres almost always shorten with age, with more rapid telomere attrition in short-lived species. Here, we show that in the edible dormouse (Glis glis) telomere length significantly increases from an age of 6 to an age of 9 years. While this finding could be due to higher survival of individuals with longer telomeres, we also found, using longitudinal measurements, a positive effect of age on the rate of telomere elongation within older individuals. To our knowledge, no previous study has reported such an effect of age on telomere lengthening. We attribute this exceptional pattern to the peculiar life-history of this species, which skips reproduction in years with low food availability. Further, we show that this “sit tight” strategy in the timing of reproduction is associated with an increasing likelihood for an individual to reproduce as it ages. As reproduction could facilitate telomere attrition, this life-history strategy may have led to the evolution of increased somatic maintenance and telomere elongation with increasing age.

No MeSH data available.


Differences in RTL changes among younger (panels a,b) and older dormice (panels c,d). There were no significant between-subject effects in either age group (panels a,c). There was, however, significant RTL shortening within younger dormice (b) and significant RTL elongation within older dormice (d) Age groups were split at a mean age of 5.3 years, which minimized the combined sum of squares.
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f3: Differences in RTL changes among younger (panels a,b) and older dormice (panels c,d). There were no significant between-subject effects in either age group (panels a,c). There was, however, significant RTL shortening within younger dormice (b) and significant RTL elongation within older dormice (d) Age groups were split at a mean age of 5.3 years, which minimized the combined sum of squares.

Mentions: Separating between-subjects and within-subjects effects on RTL as such gave no evidence for significant between-subjects or within-subjects effects. However, after adjusting for variation in initial telomere length, we found that RTL-change within individuals was age dependent (Fig. 3). Up to an age of 5.3 years, RTL-change was predominantly negative (shortening of telomeres; slope = −0.097; SE = 0.042; P = 0.028, Fig. 3b), whereas older individuals significantly elongated RTL (slope = +0.410; SE = 0.066; P = 0.003, Fig. 3d).


Telomeres are elongated in older individuals in a hibernating rodent, the edible dormouse ( Glis glis )
Differences in RTL changes among younger (panels a,b) and older dormice (panels c,d). There were no significant between-subject effects in either age group (panels a,c). There was, however, significant RTL shortening within younger dormice (b) and significant RTL elongation within older dormice (d) Age groups were split at a mean age of 5.3 years, which minimized the combined sum of squares.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5121655&req=5

f3: Differences in RTL changes among younger (panels a,b) and older dormice (panels c,d). There were no significant between-subject effects in either age group (panels a,c). There was, however, significant RTL shortening within younger dormice (b) and significant RTL elongation within older dormice (d) Age groups were split at a mean age of 5.3 years, which minimized the combined sum of squares.
Mentions: Separating between-subjects and within-subjects effects on RTL as such gave no evidence for significant between-subjects or within-subjects effects. However, after adjusting for variation in initial telomere length, we found that RTL-change within individuals was age dependent (Fig. 3). Up to an age of 5.3 years, RTL-change was predominantly negative (shortening of telomeres; slope = −0.097; SE = 0.042; P = 0.028, Fig. 3b), whereas older individuals significantly elongated RTL (slope = +0.410; SE = 0.066; P = 0.003, Fig. 3d).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Telomere shortening is thought to be an important biomarker for life history traits such as lifespan and aging, and can be indicative of genome integrity, survival probability and the risk of cancer development. In humans and other animals, telomeres almost always shorten with age, with more rapid telomere attrition in short-lived species. Here, we show that in the edible dormouse (Glis glis) telomere length significantly increases from an age of 6 to an age of 9 years. While this finding could be due to higher survival of individuals with longer telomeres, we also found, using longitudinal measurements, a positive effect of age on the rate of telomere elongation within older individuals. To our knowledge, no previous study has reported such an effect of age on telomere lengthening. We attribute this exceptional pattern to the peculiar life-history of this species, which skips reproduction in years with low food availability. Further, we show that this “sit tight” strategy in the timing of reproduction is associated with an increasing likelihood for an individual to reproduce as it ages. As reproduction could facilitate telomere attrition, this life-history strategy may have led to the evolution of increased somatic maintenance and telomere elongation with increasing age.

No MeSH data available.