Aged Rodents

The Center for Aged Rodents (CFAR) specializes in the development of new animal models for experimental analysis of aging and its relationship to late life illnesses. The Geriatrics Center colony includes over 1400 cages of laboratory mice, including several stocks of exceptionally long-lived mice. CFAR investigators have pioneered in the production and analysis of four-way cross mice, in which genetic differences among the mice - analogous to genetic differences among aging people - lead to variations in the risk of diseases of the bones, muscles, and immune system, and variations in cancer risk. Mice of the Snell dwarf colony carry a mutation in a single gene that slows down aging in virtually all cells and tissues of the body, producing mice that are healthy, agile, and cognitively intact at very old age, and have an average life span about 40% longer than those of normal laboratory mice. The UM-HET3 mice first developed by the Geriatrics Center's CFAR program have been selected by the NIH National Institute on Aging as the only genetically heterogeneous animal to be distributed nationally for biogerontology research, and have also been chosen as the model system for NIA-sponsored studies of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents thought to retard the ill effects of aging on multiple diseases. Additional information on these animal models click here.

Mouse Intervention Testing Program

The National Institute on Aging has selected the University of Michigan Geriatrics Center as one of three laboratories to receive funding for a new Intervention Testing Program. Geriatrics Center scientists, in collaboration with researchers at the Jackson Laboratories and the University of Texas, will help to select five drugs or dietary supplements each year, which will then be tested to see if they extend life span or delay the signs and symptoms of aging in mice. Scientists at medical schools, research institutes, or governmental or commercial research units are encouraged to propose specific interventions that they wish to see tested in this Intervention Program. Data showing the specific agents do not modify life span or late life disease will assist the public in evaluating the risks and benefits of highly-touted additives and supplements, while positive results - i.e. data showing that a specific agent does have beneficial effects - will help to direct new attention to agents that could potentially help prevent or treat diseases of the elderly. More information about the NIA Intervention Program, including instructions for those wishing to propose a specific agent or dietary supplement for evaluation, can be found at the NIA website.