Exp Gerontol 2011 Dec 28;46(12):970-8. Epub 2011 Aug 28.
Department of Physiology, University of Murcia, Spain.
The life cycle of Nothobranchius korthausae, a Cyprinodontiformes fish, was studied in our laboratory to characterise the ageing process. Some morphological changes, such as spine curvature, skin colour, and fin and eye appearance are described. Growth and survival curves reflected a fast life cycle with rapid initial growth until 4weeks of age, after which the fish grew more slowly before reaching their final size in week 40. Senescence onset was established at week 48 with a decrease in spawn size and viability and a general decline in the animal's appearance (weight and colouration losses, caudal fin degradation, and cataractogenesis). The fatty acid composition changed with age, with high unsaturation in the adult stage as reflected by a high peroxidation index, a condition that is associated with high susceptibility to oxidative damage if elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) production occurs. Senescent fish had an increase in monounsaturated fatty acid proportions and a lower peroxidation index (226.5±19.7 in adults versus 120.2±19.1 in senescent fish, P<0.05). The circadian system, as reflected by locomotor activity rhythms, showed noticeable changes with age. Twenty-four-week-old fish (adults) had a robust diurnal rhythm that showed a decrease in total activity, an increase in rhythm fragmentation, and a fall in amplitude and regularity with age. Changes were clearly reflected in the Circadian Function Index variations (0.56, 0.47 and 0.25 at 24, 48 and 72weeks of age, respectively). In conclusion, N. korthausae appears to be a species with appropriate characteristics for ageing studies because it manifests clear signs of progressive ageing. Comparing species of Nothobranchius genus with different lifespans may be useful for increasing our understanding of the ageing process.