Parashar, V., Frankel, S., Lurie, A. G. and Rogina, B. The Effects of Age on Radiation Resistance and Oxidative Stress in Adult Drosophila melanogaster. Radiat. Res. 169, 707–711 (2008).
Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) is a well-established model organism for genetic studies of development and aging. We examined the effects of lethal ionizing radiation on male and female adult Drosophila of different ages, using doses of radiation from 200 to 1500 Gy. Fifty percent lethality 2 days postirradiation (LD50/2) in wild-type 1-day-old adult fruit flies was ∼1238 Gy for males and 1339 Gy for females. We observed a significant age-dependent decline in the radiation resistance of both males and females. Radiation damage is postulated to occur by the generation of oxygen radicals. An age-related decline in the ability of flies to resist an agent that induces oxygen radicals, paraquat, was observed when comparing 10- and 20-day adults. Female flies are more resistant to paraquat than male flies. Oxidative stress mediated by paraquat was additive with sublethal exposures to radiation in young adults. Therefore, the ability to repair the damage caused by oxygen radicals seems to decline with the age of the flies. Because Drosophila adults are largely post-mitotic, our data suggest that adult Drosophila melanogaster can serve as an excellent model to study the factors responsible for radiation resistance in post-mitotic tissue and age-dependent changes in this resistance.