Frailty is a geriatric syndrome characterized by age-related decline in physiological reserves and functions in multiple organ systems, including the musculoskeletal, neuroendocrine/metabolic, and immune systems. Animal models are essential to study the biological basis of aging and potential ways to delay the onset of age-related phenotypes. Unfortunately, validated animal models of frailty are still lacking in preclinical research. The senescence-accelerated prone-8 (SAMP8) mouse strain exhibits early cognitive loss that mimics the deterioration of learning and memory in the elderly and is widely used as a model of aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we examined the frailty phenotype, which includes body weight, strength, endurance, activity, and slow walking speed, in male and female SAMP8 and senescence-accelerated mouse resistant (SAMR1) mice at 6- and 9-months of age. We found that the prevalence of frailty was higher in SAMP8 mice compared with SAMR1 mice, regardless of sex. The overall percentage of prefrail and frail mice was similar in male and female SAMP8 mice, although the percentage of frail mice was slightly higher in males than in females. In addition, we found sex- and frailty-specific changes in selected miRNAs blood levels. In particular, the levels of miR-34a-5p and miR-331-3p were higher in both prefrail and frail mice, whereas miR-26b-5p was increased only in frail mice compared with robust mice. Finally, levels of miR-331-3p were also increased in whole blood from a small group of frail patients. Overall, these results suggest that SAMP8 mice may be a useful mouse model for identifying potential biomarkers and studying biological mechanisms of frailty.
Reference: Phenotypic Frailty Assessment in SAMP8 mice: sex differences and potential role of miRNAs as peripheral biomarkers.
Musazzi L, Carini G, Barbieri SS, Maggi S, Veronese N, Popoli M, Barbon A, Ieraci A. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2023 Jul 9:glad160.