Two phases model of ageing in mice: towards a better identification of age-related and late-life metabolic decline [Registered Report Stage 1 Protocol]
Abstract: Since being described in Drosophila melanogaster in 2011, the Smurf phenotype, has been seen to be evolutionarily conserved in nematode and zebrafish, and has helped to identify the discontinuous nature of ageing and predict impending death from natural causes as well as from environmental stresses. This phenotype allowed us to model ageing as being made of two successive phases : a phase A where individuals are healthy and have no risk of mortality but an age-dependent increasing risk of entering phase B, followed by a phase B where individuals show the so-called hallmarks of ageing and a high risk of death. We will test here whether these two consecutive phases of ageing separated by the Smurf transition are a conserved feature of ageing in the classical mammalian laboratory model Mus musculus. Thanks to a longitudinal longevity study using both males and females from two different mouse genetic backgrounds and by integrating physiological, metabolic and molecular measurements with the life history of approximately 150 mice, we are attempting to identify a phenotypic signature typical of the last phase of life, observable at any chronological age. Validating the two-phase ageing model in a mammalian organism would allow the high risk of imminent death to be better characterized in this model and would extend its implications to a broader range of species for aging research.