Naked mole-rats are distinguished by an exceptionally long life span in comparison to similarly sized rodents, and a near immunity to cancer. Unlike other mammals, their mortality rates stay fairly constant until very late life. They accumulate all the signs of significant oxidative damage in cells and tissues, but seem resilient to it. Similarly, researchers here note that naked mole-rats do in fact accumulate senescent cells, one of the root causes of aging, but appear resilient to the harmful presence and activities of these cells. Exactly why this is the case has yet to be determined.
Cells become senescent in response to potentially cancerous damage or reaching the Hayflick limit on replication. The vast majority destroy themselves or are destroyed by the immune system, but a tiny fraction linger. They generate signals that spur chronic inflammation, change surrounding cell behavior for the worse, and destructively remodel nearby tissue structures. This results in functional decline in organs and other important tissues and systems. It is interesting to see that while there are differences in the detailed behavior of senescent cells between naked mole-rats and other mammals, they nonetheless still generate
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