Mouse study links delayed female sexual maturity to longer lifespan

An intriguing clue to longevity lurks in the sexual maturation timetable of female mammals, Jackson Laboratory researchers and their collaborators report.

Jackson researchers including Research Scientist Rong Yuan, Ph.D., had previously established that mouse strains with lower circulating levels of the hormone IGF1 at age six months live longer than other strains. In research published May 7 in the , Yuan and colleagues report that from strains with lower IGF1 levels also reach at a significantly later age.

"This suggests a genetically regulated tradeoff—delayed reproduction but longer life—that is at least partially mediated by IGF1," Yuan says.

The researchers conclude that IGF1 may co-regulate female and . They showed that mouse strains derived from wild populations carry specific gene variants that delay sexual maturation, and they identified a candidate gene, Nrip1, involved in regulating sexual maturation that may also affect longevity by controlling IGF1 levels.

Yuan notes that researchers in England recently showed that higher levels of IGF1 and other hormones in girls are associated with earlier age of menarche (onset of menstruation). In the newly published research, Yuan and colleagues used the biological benchmark of vaginal patency (VP) as indicator of sexual maturity in mice.

Mice from the inbred strain C57BL/6J, also known as "Black 6," showed 9 percent lower IGF1, 6 percent delayed age of VP and 24 percent extended lifespan compared to a Black 6 substrain that carries a gene variation that increases IGF1.

Using a technique called haplotype mapping, the researchers screened genetic and physiological data for 31 different inbred mouse strains and found genes that regulate female sexual maturation and lifespan, on Chromosomes 4 and 16. They showed that wild-derived share a genetic profile associated with delayed VP and increased longevity, and identified a candidate gene, Nrip1, that controls IGF1 and age of VP.

Related Stories

Stop signal for leukemia stem cells

Aug 23, 2011

There are numerous specialized growth factors that are responsible for cells of different tissues of our body to divide and differentiate when needed. These hormone-like factors bind to matching receptors on the surface of ...

Study finds genes that influence the start of menstruation

May 30, 2009

Two scientists at the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife are part of an international team of investigators that has identified genes that influence the start of menstruation, a milestone of female reproductive ...

Serotonin plays active role in the sexual preference of mice

Mar 25, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In a recent study published in Nature by Yan Liu and Yun'ai Jiang at Beijing's National Institute of Biological Sciences, the connection between serotonin and sexual preference in mice is presented. Liu a ...

Recommended for you

Changes in scores of genes contribute to autism risk

Oct 29, 2014

Small differences in as many as a thousand genes contribute to risk for autism, according to a study led by Mount Sinai researchers and the Autism Sequencing Consortium (ASC), and published today in the journal Nature.

Dozens of genes associated with autism in new research

Oct 29, 2014

Two major genetic studies of autism, led in part by UC San Francisco scientists and involving more than 50 laboratories worldwide, have newly implicated dozens of genes in the disorder. The research shows ...

Genetic link to kidney stones identified

Oct 29, 2014

A new breakthrough could help kidney stone sufferers get an exact diagnosis and specific treatment after genetic links to the condition were identified.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.