An aquatic organism as time machine: Nothobranchius furzeri

L. D’Angelo

Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria e Produzioni Animali, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Napoli, Italy

Background. There is need for animal models to study ageing. Worms, flies and mice have been extensively explored with outstanding results.

Aims. Many studies have used Nothobranchius furzeri – the African turquoise killfish with a lifespan less than 1 year.

Results. Studies have shown that the ageing process of N. furzeri and humans share many features.

Discussion. Despite its relatively short lifespan for a vertebrate, N. furzeri shows many molecular, cellular and physiological ageing phenotypes, shared with many other organisms, including humans. We have shown a significant impairment of learning performance with age, when tested using an active avoidance task.

Conclusion. N. furzeri is an ideal model to explore – in short time – molecular mechanisms that control ageing in vertebrates, including humans.

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