Life-Span Extension

Part of the series Aging Medicine pp 157-171


Life Extension in the Short-Lived Fish Nothobranchius furzeri

  • Alessandro CellerinoAffiliated withFritz-Lipmann Institute for Age Research Email author 

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Genetic and pharmacological research on aging is hampered by the life span of available vertebrate models. We recently initiated studies on Nothobranchius furzeri, a species with a maximum life expectancy in captivity of just 3 months, the shortest documented captive life span for a vertebrate. Further research on N. furzeri has demonstrated the following:
  1. 1.

    Short life span correlates with explosive growth and accelerated sexual maturation.

  2. 2.

    Short life span is correlated with the expression of age-related behavioral and histological changes.

  3. 3.

    Life span and expression of age-related markers can be modulated by water temperature.

  4. 4.

    Resveratrol, a drug characterized by its life-extending action in Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila, increases life span and retards expression of age-related markers.

  5. 5.

    Aging-related genes can be easily isolated by homology cloning.

  6. 6.

    Different populations or species of Nothobranchius show large-scale differences in captive life span.


In the last 3 years, N. furzeri has moved from a biological curiosity to a promising model system for drug validation. Furthermore, this species occupies a favorable position in the phylogeny of teleosts. It is close to the Japanese medaka, the puffer fishes, and the sticklebacks, and may represent a useful model for the comparative genomics of aging.


Nothobranchius furzeri resveratrol life span aging