Why do old flies die?

From Aging: Why do old flies die?

As we get older we become more likely to get sick and, eventually, die. Although the underlying pathologies and major causes of death in elderly humans have been well documented, much less is known about the events leading to age-related death in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster- one of the premier model systems in aging research. What is the underlying pathology that limits the lifespan of a fly? […]

In this work, we show that all individuals show an altered control of intestinal permeability a few days prior to death regardless of chronological age. Interestingly, these same individuals also showed a striking increase in the expression of inflammatory markers (antimicrobial peptides, AMPs) as well as systemic metabolic defects, including impaired insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling (IIS). […]

As well as highlighting an important link between intestinal aging and organismal aging, this work may be telling us something about the very nature of the aging process itself. Our findings support a model where aging is composed of two consecutive phases, a first phase characterized by a growing likelihood of displaying intestinal barrier failure/inflammation/systemic metabolic dysfunction followed by a second phase leading to death.

Interestingly, it looks like impaired insulin signaling (insulin resistance), is important in the deaths of fruit flies as well as humans.


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Sam says September 10, 2013

Why do old flies die? …uuhh, why hasn’t anyone done this study before? It just goes to show you how many things in our lives no one has the slightest idea of what’s going on. Thanks for posting this. I had no idea.

Sam says May 22, 2015

I always keep this tremendous post of yours in the back of my mind. I just read a post here,


It talks about a new cancer theory. Reverse Warburg Effect says that cancer cells give off hydrogen peroxide and kill the nearby support cells in the tissues called fibroblasts.

They said,”…If Lisanti [Researcher for Reverse Warburg Effect] is correct, his ideas would explain why people become more susceptible to cancer as they age. As we age, our body produces more hydrogen peroxide and free radicals and becomes a fertile ground for cancer…”.

Could there be a death trigger? Where the cells switch on hydrogen peroxide production. Maybe the hydrogen peroxide is a virus and disease killing mechanism to protect us that goes haywire in cancer and also causes death by going into overdrive. Cancer is just a localized death trigger sequence????

It would seem important to understand how this hydrogen peroxide production sequence is turned on. Anything that can be triggered yo turn on could most likely be triggered to turn off.

    P. D. Mangan says May 22, 2015

    Thanks, Sam. Back in the day, not so long ago, I posted a fair number of excerpts of studies I found interesting/enlightening. Now that I feel I’ve got to write things more popular with more people, I do that hardly at all. Maybe I should restart that. And thanks for the link.

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