Data from: Deleterious consequences of antioxidant supplementation on lifespan in a wild-derived mammal



While oxidative damage due to reactive oxygen species (ROS) often increases with advancing age and is associated with many age-related diseases, its causative role in ageing is controversial. In particular, studies that have attempted to modulate ROS-induced damage, either upwards or downward, using antioxidant or genetic approaches, generally do not show a predictable effect on lifespan. Here we investigated whether dietary supplementation with either vitamin E (α-tocopherol) or vitamin C (ascorbic acid) affected oxidative damage and lifespan in short-tailed field voles, Microtus agrestis. We predicted that antioxidant supplementation would reduce ROS-induced oxidative damage and increase lifespan relative to unsupplemented controls. Antioxidant supplementation for 9 months reduced hepatic lipid peroxidation, but DNA oxidative damage to hepatocytes and lymphocytes was unaffected. Surprisingly, antioxidant supplementation significantly shortened lifespan in voles maintained under both cold (7±2°C) and warm (22±2°C) conditions. These data further question the predictions of free radical theory of ageing and critically, given our previous research in mice, indicate that similar levels of antioxidants can induce widely different inter-specific effects on lifespan.

Data type

Vole data lifespan, oxidative damage, food intake and body mass: An Excel data file with the lifespan, oxidative damage and morphological measurements taken from laboratory measurements originally sourced from Jane McLaren's PhD thesis, University of Aberdeen. Cold and warm denotes housing temperature voles maintained at. Vit E and vit C are vitamin E supplemented and vitamin C supplemented respectively. ENDO is endonuclease III and FPG is formamidopyrimidine-DNA-glycosylase. Lifespan data in days. Food intake in grams per day, body mass in grams, hepatic lipid peroxidation in nmol mg protein, DNA damage in arbitrary units all collected at 11 months of age.
RSBL-2013-0432 vole data.xlsx

Copyright and Open Data Licencing

This work is licensed under a CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license.
Date made available3 Jul 2013
PublisherDryad Digital Repository

Funder and Grant Reference number

  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)


  • longevity
  • oxidative damage
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vole

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