Recently, research by Daphne Bazopoulou and Ursula Jakob of the University of Michigan found that a transient increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS), which occurs naturally during early development in a subpopulation of synchronized Caenorhabditis elegans, sets processes in motion that increase stress resistance, improve redox homeostasis and ultimately prolong lifespan in those animals.
At the beginning of the L2 phase of nematodes, there are large differences in redox levels in the body. Some biased oxidation state is called juvenile oxidation type; some biased reduction state is called juvenile reduction type.However, on the seventh day of adulthood, the redox status of the nematodes was reversed from that of larva. juvenile oxidized nematodes live longer and have greater tolerance to heat shock and ROS compared with juvenile reduced nematodes. The researchers found that during the L2 phase, exposing nematodes to paraquat at a concentration of 1 mM for 10 hours can make the nematodes more longevity overall. They find that these effects are linked to the global ROS-mediated decrease in developmental histone H3K4me3 levels.
Findings of this article implicate a link between early-life events, ROS-sensitive epigenetic marks, stress resistance and lifespan.