Measures of Healthspan as Indices of Aging in Mice-A Recommendation

Arlan Richardson*, Kathleen E. Fischer, John R. Speakman, Rafael de Cabo, Sarah J. Mitchell, Charlotte A. Peterson, Peter Rabinovitch, Ying A. Chiao, George Taffet, Richard A. Miller, Rene C. Renteria, James Bower, Donald K. Ingram, Warren C. Ladiges, Yuji Ikeno, Felipe Sierra, Steven N. Austad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past decade, a large number of discoveries have shown that interventions (genetic, pharmacological, and nutritional) increase the lifespan of invertebrates and laboratory rodents. Therefore, the possibility of developing antiaging interventions for humans has gone from a dream to a reality. However, it has also become apparent that we need more information than just lifespan to evaluate the translational potential of any proposed antiaging intervention to humans. Information is needed on how an intervention alters the "healthspan" of an animal, that is, how the physiological functions that change with age are altered. In this report, we describe the utility and the limitations of assays in mice currently available for measuring a wide range of physiological functions that potentially impact quality of life. We encourage investigators and reviewers alike to expect at minimum an overall assessment of health in several domains across several ages before an intervention is labeled as "increasing healthspan." In addition, it is important that investigators indicate any tests in which the treated group did worse or did not differ statistically from controls because overall health is a complex phenotype, and no intervention discovered to date improves every aspect of health. Finally, we strongly recommend that functional measurements be performed in both males and females so that sex differences in the rate of functional decline in different domains are taken into consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-430
Number of pages4
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number4
Early online date22 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Healthspan
  • Lifespan
  • Physiological function
  • Age
  • Caloric Restriction
  • Frailty Index
  • C57BL/6 mice
  • Life-span
  • Rapamycin

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