Correction of a Glutathione Deficiency in the Aging Mosquito Increases Its Longevity

John P. Richie, Betty Jane Mills, Calvin A. Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The decrease of tissue glutathione (GSH) concentrations in different senescent organisms gave rise to our hypothesis that a glutathione deficiency is a biochemical cause of the aging process. A rigorous test of this notion would be the correction of the deficiency and concomitant increase in life span. To this end, adult mosquitoes were fed magnesium thiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid, and their GSH levels and life spans were determined. The GSH levels increased 50–100% (P < 0.005) regardless of the age when feeding was initiated or whether the feeding period extended over 2 days or the entire life span. Also the median life spans increased 30–38% over control values (P < 0.005). The responses were specific for the thiazolidine carboxylate moiety, because MgCl2 had no effect. These findings confirm the GSH deficiency hypothesis and demonstrate a specific biochemical mechanism of aging that can be nutritionally modified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-117
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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