The free-radical damage theory: accumulating evidence against a simple link of oxidative stress to ageing and lifespan

Speakman, J.R. and Selman, C. (2011) The free-radical damage theory: accumulating evidence against a simple link of oxidative stress to ageing and lifespan. BioEssays, 33(4), pp. 255-259. (doi: 10.1002/bies.201000132)

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Abstract

Recent work on a small European cave salamander (Proteus anguinus) has revealed that it has exceptional longevity, yet it appears to have unexceptional defences against oxidative damage. This paper comes at the end of a string of other studies that are calling into question the free-radical damage theory of ageing. This theory rose to prominence in the 1990s as the dominant theory for why we age and die. Despite substantial correlative evidence to support it, studies in the last five years have raised doubts over its importance. In particular, these include studies of mice with the major antioxidant genes knocked out (both singly and in combination), which show the expected elevation in oxidative damage but no impact on lifespan. Combined, these findings raise fundamental questions over whether the free-radical damage theory remains useful for understanding the ageing process, and variation in lifespan and life histories.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Selman, Professor Colin
Authors: Speakman, J.R., and Selman, C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:BioEssays
ISSN:0265-9247
ISSN (Online):1521-1878
Published Online:02 February 2011

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