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Dissociation between functional senescence and oxidative stress resistance inDrosophila

Experimental Gerontology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0531-5565(02)00096-7
  • Behavior
  • Olfaction
  • Phototaxis
  • Geotaxis
  • Locomotor
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Methuselah
  • Longevity
  • Protein Carbonyl
  • Aging


Abstract Many studies strongly suggest a causal link between oxidative stress and determination of life span. The relationship between oxidative stress and age-related functional declines, however, is less clear. Additionally, the full spectrum of functional declines associated with aging has not been systematically evaluated in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, one of the leading models for aging research. Toward a more comprehensive assessment of functional senescence in Drosophila, we evaluated a series of behaviors in control flies of increasing ages. Our studies reveal a novel age-dependent functional decline in the olfactory system and confirm previous reports of age-related locomotor defects in flies. Behavioral responses to electric shock and light are maintained in aged flies. Thus, some sensory systems senesce during the first several weeks of life while others do not. Interestingly, the age-dependent functional declines in olfactory and locomotor systems are indistinguishable in control flies and methuselah, a mutant with enhanced resistance to oxidative stress and increased life span. Our results indicate that enhanced resistance to oxidative stress and extension of life span do not necessarily confer protection from age-related functional declines.

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