Hyaluronan Provides Longevity and Cancer Resistance to the Naked-Mole-Rat

In an article published in the June issue 2013 of Nature, an international group of scientists reports on the occurrence of very high-molecular-mass hyaluronan secreted by the fibroblasts of a rodent species (naked mole rats) that displays lifespan exceeding 30 years. This exceptional longevity is accompanied by an unusual resistance to cancer. The high-molecular-mass hyaluronan (6-12MDa) accumulates in naked-mole-rat tissues as a result of a decreased activity of HA-degrading enzymes and a unique sequence of hyaluronan synthase. The authors speculate that naked mole rats have evolved a higher concentration of HA in the skin to provide skin elasticity needed for life in underground tunnels, and that such a trait may have been co-opted to provide cancer resistance and longevity to this species.

Reference : High-molecular-mass hyaluronan mediates the cancer resistance of the naked mole rat. X. Tian, J. Azpurua, Ch. Hine, A. Vaidya, M. Myakishev-Rempel, J. Ablaeva, Z. Mao, E. Nevo, V. Gorbunova & A. Seluanov, Nature 2013, doi : 10.1038/nature12234.