Aux frontières des performances : approche comparative de la relation entre locomotion et âge pour différentes espèces

Abstract : Aging is a complex, multi-scale process that affects all levels of biological organization from molecular structure to individual behavior. Locomotion is a highly integrated neurophysiological function that illustrates this process. The functional decline in locomotion with age has been described in a wide-range of species, both domestic and wild, and appears as a common aspect of senescence among animals. However, in most cases these descriptions remain incomplete and the dynamics of age-related changes are poorly understood. Here, we use a conceptual feature to describe age-related changes in locomotor performances for Caenorhabditis elegans, Mus domesticus, Canis familiaris, Equus caballus and Homo sapiens. We show that measurements of locomotor performance are consistent biomarkers of age-related changes, with a well preserved pattern regardless of the type of effort or duration. We also show that age-related pattern for locomotor performance are modulated by gender and environment. Nevertheless, in every case, the pattern remains similar and very well preserved. The second part of this work introduces the concept of phenotypic expansion and focuses on the expansion of the age-related pattern for Homo sapiens during the last century. Since the first edition of modern Olympic Games in 1896, athletes have consistently improved previous records, echoing scientific and industrial progress. Their data constitute privileged and accurate biomarkers, as sport performances reflect highly integrated neuro-physiological traits based on complex multifactorial interactions. Following the progression of the world records, the age-related pattern expanded gradually during the 20th century. However, the last decades show a slow-down in the expansion, following again the recent asymptotic levelling off of world records, which no longer supports the historical motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius”. This work provides new insights about the utility of an age-based comparative approach to provide a thorough understanding of aging processes and also for gaining insights into aging at different levels of biological organization and in an evolutionary perspective.
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Adrien Marck. Aux frontières des performances : approche comparative de la relation entre locomotion et âge pour différentes espèces. Médecine humaine et pathologie. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016USPCB080⟩. ⟨tel-01816924⟩

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