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Lower Body Temperature May Extend Life Span

Study shows that 'cool' mice live 15 percent longer, even without calorie restriction

THURSDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have found that mice with a core temperature one-half a degree Celsius lower than normal live about 15 percent longer than mice with a normal body core temperature, according to a report in the Nov. 3 issue of Science.

Bruno Conti, Ph.D., from the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., and colleagues studied mice that overexpress an uncoupling protein in their hypothalamus, which causes their central thermostat to register their body temperature as too hot. The mutant mice have an average core body temperature of 0.3 to 0.5 degrees Celsius lower than normal.

The transgenic mice were fed at will and consumed as many calories as wild-type mice. However, the "cool mice" survived longer than the controls: males survived 12 percent longer and females survived 20 percent longer than their wild-type counterparts.

"We have shown that a modest and prolonged reduction of body core temperature can contribute to increased median life span in the absence of calorie restriction," the authors conclude.

"This work also holds out the tantalizing promise that we may be able to achieve a longer life span, if we were only to be a little cooler about it," according to Clifford B. Saper, M.D., Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, in an accompanying perspective.

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