Parametric models for survival data help to differentiate aging from other lifespan determinants. However, such inferences suffer from small sizes of experimental animal samples and variable animals handling by different labs. We analyzed control data from a single laboratory where interventions in murine lifespan were studied over decades. The minimal Gompertz model (GM) was found to perform best with most murine strains. However, when several control datasets related to a particular strain are fitted to GM, strikingly rigid interdependencies between GM parameters emerge, consistent with the Strehler-Mildvan correlation (SMC). SMC emerges even when survival patterns do not conform to GM, as with cancer-prone HER2/neu mice, which die at a log-normally distributed age. Numerical experiments show that SMC includes an artifact whose magnitude depends on dataset deviation from conformance to GM irrespectively of the noisiness of small datasets, another contributor to SMC. Still another contributor to SMC is the compensation effect of mortality (CEM): a real tradeoff between the physiological factors responsible for initial vitality and the rate of its decline. To avoid misinterpretations, we advise checking experimental results against a SMC based on historical controls or on subgroups obtained by randomization of control animals. An apparent acceleration of aging associated with a decrease in the initial mortality is invalid if it is not greater than SMC suggests. This approach applied to published data suggests that the effects of calorie restriction and of drugs believed to mimic it are different. SMC and CEM relevance to human survival patterns is discussed.
Biogerontology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 4, 2018
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