The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)


Hormonal aspects of human and chimpanzee aging

KRISTEN HAWKES and JAMES K. BLEVINS.

Anthropology, University of Utah

Friday 11:45-12:00, Galleria South Add to calendar

Even in human populations where mortality rates are high, females – if they reach adulthood – usually live well past menopause. We know that estrogen is crucial to the function of physiological systems other than fertility, yet women remain strong and healthy after ovarian estrogen secretion drops sharply with menopause. This implicates non-gonadal hormone sources in somatic maintenance. Non-ovarian steroids may also play a role in the geriatric decline observed in other primate females while they are still ovulating. What part do adrenal androgens play in the story? The adrenal steroid DHEAS has been nominated as a biomarker of primate aging based on rates of decline across adulthood that are commensurate with adult lifespan in humans and some other taxa. Patterns have yet to be characterized for our closest living relatives. Here we compare aspects of adrenal aging between humans and chimpanzees, aiming to identify mechanisms associated with slowed somatic senescence in our lineage.

We gratefully acknowledge NSF support for this research

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