Journal Article

A homeostatic model of oxidative damage explains paradoxes observed in earlier aging experiments: a fusion and extension of older theories of aging

Novoseltsev, V. N., Novoseltseva, J. A., Yashin, A. I.

Biogerontology, 2:2, 127-138 (2001)


The Rate of Living and the Threshold Theories of Aging are two contradicting approaches used to explain experimental facts about aging in fruit flies. In this paper we suggest an approach that unifies these theories and removes the contradiction. The approach involves quantitative description of the oxidative stress theory of aging, which is presented in the form of a mathematical homeostatic model. The crucial variable in the model is called ’homeostatic capacity‘, which is analogous to the classical notion of vitality. We model the process of aging as the age-related accumulation of damage produced by oxidative stress, which reduces the homeostatic capacity of the organism. The model is tested with the experimental data obtained in the classical experiments by Maynard Smith in 1958–1963. Our homeostatic model explains the well-known results of these experiments more accurate than any one of the early theories of aging. We form an hypothesis about the mechanisms underlying the results observed in the experiments and analyze a possible interplay of these mechanisms. Our virtual replication of Maynard Smith‘s classical experiments demonstrates that mathematical modeling can be a powerful tool to reveal and investigate the inherent genetic and physiological processes underlying the data observed in complicated insect experiments. (© 2001 KLUWER ACADEMIC PUBLISHERS)