Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Why is the dog an ideal model for aging research?


The domestic dog meets ideal requirements for a model of human aging.
The domestic dog has naturally occurring disease conditions that closely mimic those of the human.
Numerous data sets have been produced to date, although they are limited by either inclusion or analysis limitations.
The dog has much data available that could use coordination between sources. There are also many areas of canine aging that have not been thoroughly investigated, thereby leaving areas of study open for further, new, or extended investigation.


With many caveats to the traditional vertebrate species pertaining to biogerontology investigations, it has been suggested that a most informative model is the one which: 1) examines closely related species, or various members of the same species with naturally occurring lifespan variation, 2) already has adequate medical procedures developed, 3) has a well annotated genome, 4) does not require artificial housing, and can live in its natural environment while being investigated, and 5) allows considerable information to be gathered within a relatively short period of time. The domestic dog unsurprisingly fits each criterion mentioned. The dog has already become a key model system in which to evaluate surgical techniques and novel medications because of the remarkable similarity between human and canine conditions, treatments, and response to therapy. The dog naturally serves as a disease model for study, obviating the need to construct artificial genetically modified examples of disease. Just as the dog offers a natural model for human conditions and diseases, simple observation leads to the conclusion that the canine aging phenotype also mimics that of the human. Genotype information, biochemical information pertaining to the GH/IGF-1 pathway, and some limited longitudinal investigations have begun the establishment of the domestic dog as a model of aging. Although we find that dogs indeed are a model to study aging and there are many independent pieces of canine aging data, there are many more “open” areas, ripe for investigation.


  • Canine aging,;
  • Longevity,;
  • Aging model,;
  • Domestic dog,;
  • IGF-1,;
  • GH

Corresponding author.