Multiple measures of functionality exhibit progressive decline in a parallel, stochastic fashion in Drosophila Sod2 null mutants

Nicole Piazza, Michael Hayes, Ian Martin, Atanu Duttaroy, Mike Grotewiel, Robert Wessells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Oxidative damage has been proposed as an important factor in the progression of pathological and non-pathological age-related functional declines. Here, we examine functional deterioration in short-lived flies mutant for the mitochondrial antioxidant Manganese Superoxide Dismutase (Sod2). We find that the decline of several functional measures of aging occurs, in an accelerated fashion, in Sod2 mutants. Olfactory behavior, locomotor ability and cardiac performance were all seen to decline rapidly in Sod2 mutants. On average, functional declines in Sod2 mutants occur in a pattern similar to that seen in late-life Drosophila with a normal complement of Sod2. In longitudinal experiments, however, we find that functional failures occur in every possible sequence in Sod2 mutants. Significantly, failure of these functional measures is not irreversible, as spontaneous functional recovery was sometimes observed. These findings support a model where ROS-related damage strikes at multiple organ systems in parallel, rather than a "chain of dominos" model, in which primary organ failure contributes to the deterioration of further organ systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-648
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 19 2009



  • Cardiac
  • Functional senescence
  • Longitudinal
  • ROS
  • Sod2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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