Social isolation shortens lifespan through oxidative stress in ants

Akiko Koto, Makoto Tamura, Pui Shan Wong, Sachiyo Aburatani, Eyal Privman, Céline Stoffel, Alessandro Crespi, Sean Keane McKenzie, Christine La Mendola, Tomas Kay, Laurent Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social isolation negatively affects health, induces detrimental behaviors, and shortens lifespan in social species. Little is known about the mechanisms underpinning these effects because model species are typically short-lived and non-social. Using colonies of the carpenter ant Camponotus fellah, we show that social isolation induces hyperactivity, alters space-use, and reduces lifespan via changes in the expression of genes with key roles in oxidation-reduction and an associated accumulation of reactive oxygen species. These physiological effects are localized to the fat body and oenocytes, which perform liver-like functions in insects. We use pharmacological manipulations to demonstrate that the oxidation-reduction pathway causally underpins the detrimental effects of social isolation on behavior and lifespan. These findings have important implications for our understanding of how social isolation affects behavior and lifespan in general.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number5493
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 27 Sep 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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