Abstract

The effect of the mitochondria-targeted, plastoquinone-containing antioxidant SkQ1 on the lifespan of outbred mice and of three strains of inbred mice was studied. To this end, low pathogen (LP) or specific pathogen free (SPF) vivaria in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Stockholm were used. For comparison, we also studied mole-voles and dwarf hamsters, two wild species of small rodents kept under simulated natural conditions. It was found that substitution of a LP vivarium for a conventional (non-LP) one doubled the lifespan of female outbred mice, just as SkQ1 did in a non-LP vivarium. SkQ1 prevented age-dependent disappearance of estrous cycles of outbred mice in both LP and non-LP vivaria. In the SPF vivarium in Moscow, male BALB/c mice had shorter lifespan than females, and SkQ1 increased their lifespan to the values of the females. In the females, SkQ1 retarded development of such trait of aging as heart mass increase. Male C57Bl/6 mice housed individually in the SPF vivarium in Stockholm lived as long as females. SkQ1 increased the male lifespan, the longevity of the females being unchanged. SkQ1 did not change food intake by these mice. Dwarf hamsters and mole-voles kept in outdoor cages or under simulated natural conditions lived longer if treated with SkQ1. The effect of SkQ1 on longevity of females is assumed to mainly be due to retardation of the age-linked decline of the immune system. For males under LP or SPF conditions, SkQ1 increased the lifespan, affecting also some other system(s) responsible for aging.