Comparative metabolomics of aging in a long-lived bat: Insights into the physiology of extreme longevity

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© 2018 Ball et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Vespertilionid bats (Mammalia: Order Chiroptera) live 3–10 times longer than other mammals of an equivalent body size. At present, nothing is known of how bat fecal metabolic profiles shift with age in any taxa. This study established the feasibility of using a non-invasive, fecal metabolomics approach to examine age-related differences in the fecal metabolome of young and elderly adult big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) as an initial investigation into using metabolomics for age determination. Samples were collected from captive, known-aged big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) from 1 to over 14 years of age: these two ages represent age groups separated by approximately 75% of the known natural lifespan of this taxon. Results showed 41 metabolites differentiated young (n = 22) and elderly (n = 6) Eptesicus. Significant differences in metabolites between young and elderly bats were associated with tryptophan metabolism and incomplete protein digestion. Results support further exploration of the physiological mechanisms bats employ to achieve exceptional longevity.




Ball, H. C., levari-Shariati, S., Cooper, L. N., & Aliani, M. (2018). Comparative metabolomics of aging in a long-lived bat: Insights into the physiology of extreme longevity. PLoS ONE, 13(5).

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