The NIA Interventions Testing Program represents a multi-site translational research program to evaluate agents hypothesized to extend mouse lifespan by retardation of aging or postponement of late life diseases. Interventions proposed by multiple collaborating scientists from the research community are initially tested, in parallel, at three sites (Jackson Laboratories, Michigan and Texas), using identical, standardized protocols, and using sufficient numbers of genetically heterogeneous mice to provide 80% power for detecting changes in lifespan of 10%, for either sex, after pooling data from any two of the test sites. Eighteen such 'Phase I'trials have been started in the first four years of the ITP, with 4-5 new agents tested in each annual cycle. Two agents tested in the first annual mouse cohort, aspirin and NDGA, produced significant increases in survival of male mice. Rapamycin, given to mice at 20 months of age and then evaluated at a point (Dec 1, 2008) where 92% of 867 female mice, and 96% of 1098 male mice from Cohort 2 had died, produced robust lifespan increases with p <0.0001 for males and p <0.0001 for females, with significant parallel results at all three sites. Rapamycin treatment also led to a significant increase in maximum lifespan both in males and in females (p <0.001 in each sex). Rapamycin also shows a beneficial effect when initiated at 9 months of age, in a Cohort 3 study now reaching the median survival age, significant in both male (p = 0.008) and female (p = 0.0001) mice. Plans for the next five years include completion of all ongoing Phase I trials and initiation of three or more new Phase I trials each year. In addition, a more elaborate Phase II study of Rapamycin will evaluate the effects of varying doses of this agent on survival, test a range of age-sensitive traits and proposed mechanistic pathways, document cross-sectional pathology, and provide mice and tissues for analyses by others. Each of the three laboratories has experience in lifespan and biomarker analysis in mice, and in addition will bring special expertise to the collaboration: measures of age-sensitive traits at the Jackson Laboratory, pathology and statistical analysis at Michigan, and pharmacology/toxicology at Texas.

Public Health Relevance

Identification of agents that can extend mean and/or maximum longevity in genetically heterogeneous mice in multiple laboratories will suggest research directions leading to clinical treatments designed to prevent or retard deleterious changes with age. In addition, identifying health dangers of unproven treatments that are purported to have anti-aging actions will also have public health benefits.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project--Cooperative Agreements (U01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1-ZIJ-2 (M2))
Program Officer
Sierra, Felipe
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
Schools of Medicine
San Antonio
United States
Zip Code
Harrison, David E; Strong, Randy; Allison, David B et al. (2014) Acarbose, 17-*-estradiol, and nordihydroguaiaretic acid extend mouse lifespan preferentially in males. Aging Cell 13:273-82
Lin, Ai-Ling; Zheng, Wei; Halloran, Jonathan J et al. (2013) Chronic rapamycin restores brain vascular integrity and function through NO synthase activation and improves memory in symptomatic mice modeling Alzheimer's disease. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 33:1412-21
Flynn, James M; O'Leary, Monique N; Zambataro, Christopher A et al. (2013) Late-life rapamycin treatment reverses age-related heart dysfunction. Aging Cell 12:851-62
Strong, Randy; Miller, Richard A; Astle, Clinton M et al. (2013) Evaluation of resveratrol, green tea extract, curcumin, oxaloacetic acid, and medium-chain triglyceride oil on life span of genetically heterogeneous mice. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 68:6-16
Miller, Richard A; Harrison, David E; Astle, C M et al. (2011) Rapamycin, but not resveratrol or simvastatin, extends life span of genetically heterogeneous mice. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 66:191-201
Spilman, Patricia; Podlutskaya, Natalia; Hart, Matthew J et al. (2010) Inhibition of mTOR by rapamycin abolishes cognitive deficits and reduces amyloid-beta levels in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. PLoS One 5:e9979
Rani, C S Sheela; Elango, Narayanasamy; Wang, Shou-Shu et al. (2009) Identification of an activator protein-1-like sequence as the glucocorticoid response element in the rat tyrosine hydroxylase gene. Mol Pharmacol 75:589-98
Harrison, David E; Strong, Randy; Sharp, Zelton Dave et al. (2009) Rapamycin fed late in life extends lifespan in genetically heterogeneous mice. Nature 460:392-5
Strong, Randy; Miller, Richard A; Astle, Clinton M et al. (2008) Nordihydroguaiaretic acid and aspirin increase lifespan of genetically heterogeneous male mice. Aging Cell 7:641-50
Miller, Richard A; Harrison, David E; Astle, Clinton M et al. (2007) An Aging Interventions Testing Program: study design and interim report. Aging Cell 6:565-75

Showing the most recent 10 out of 11 publications