, 7:221 | Cite as

Lifespan extension of Caenorhabditis elegans following repeated mild hormetic heat treatments

  • Anders OlsenEmail author
  • Maithili C. Vantipalli
  • Gordon J. Lithgow


Mild hormetic heat treatments early in life can significantly increase the lifespan of the nematode C. elegans. We have examined the effects of heat treatments at different ages and show that treatments early in life cause the largest increases in lifespan. We also find that repeated mild heat treatments throughout life have a larger effect on lifespan compared to a single mild heat treatment early in life. We hypothesize that the magnitude of the hormetic effect is related to the levels of heat shock protein expression. Following heat treatment young worms show a dramatic increase in the levels of the small heat shock protein HSP-16 whereas old worms are a 100-fold less responsive. The levels of the heat shock proteins HSP-4 and HSP-16 correlate well with the effects on lifespan by the hormetic treatments.


Ageing Aging C. elegans Chaperones Hormesis Lifespan Stress 



unfolded protein response


endoplasmic reticulum


heat shock protein


green fluorescent protein



We thank Dr. Mette Lund and the members of the Lithgow Laboratory for helpful discussions. A. O. was supported by the Danish Cancer Society. G. J. L. is supported by NIH, the Ellison Medical Foundation, the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research and the Herbert Simon Family Medical Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anders Olsen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maithili C. Vantipalli
    • 1
  • Gordon J. Lithgow
    • 1
  1. 1.The Buck InstituteNovatoUSA

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