Circadian rhythms of body temperature and locomotor activity in aging BALB/c mice: early and late life span predictors

Andrea Basso, Giovanna Del Bello, Francesco Piacenza, Robertina Giacconi, Laura Costarelli, Marco Malavolta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Impairment of one or more parameters of circadian rhythms (CR) of body temperature (BT) and locomotor activity (LMA) are considered among the hallmarks of mammalian aging. These alterations are frequently used as markers for imminent death in laboratory mice. However, there are still contradictory data for particular strains and it is also uncertain which changes might predict senescence changes later in life, including the force of mortality. In the present paper we use telemetry to study LMA and CR of BT during aging of BALB/c mice. At our knowledge this is the first time that CR of BT and LMA are investigated in this strain in a range of age covering the whole lifespan, from young adult up to very old age. CR of BT was analyzed with a cosine model using a cross sectional approach and follow-up measurements. The results show that BT, LMA, amplitude, goodness-of-fit (GoF) to circadian cycle of temperature decrease with different shapes during chronological age. Moreover, we found that the % change of amplitude and BT in early life (5–19 months) can predict the remaining lifespan of the mice. Later in life (22–32 months), best predictors are single measurements of LMA and GoF. The results of this study also offer potential measures to rapidly identifying freely unrestrained mice with the worst longitudinal outcome and against which existing or novel biomarkers and treatments may be assessed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 28 2016


  • Aging
  • Biomarker of aging
  • Body temperature
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Locomotor activity
  • Mortality
  • Survival
  • Thermoregulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Ageing


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