It is not all about regeneration: Planarians striking power to stand starvation.


Cristina González-Estévez


Leibniz Institute on Aging - Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI), Beutenbergstraße 11, 07745 Jena, Germany. Electronic address: [Email]


All living forms, prokaryotes as eukaryotes, have some means of adaptation to food scarcity, which extends the survival chances under extreme environmental conditions. Nowadays we know that dietary interventions, including fasting, extends lifespan of many organisms and can also protect against age-related diseases including in humans. Therefore, the capacity of adapting to periods of food scarcity may have evolved billions of years ago not only to allow immediate organismal survival but also to be able to extend organismal lifespan or at least to lead to a healthier remaining lifespan. Planarians have been the center of attention since more than two centuries because of their astonishing power of full body regeneration that relies on a large amount of adult stem cells or neoblasts. However, they also present an often-overlooked characteristic. They are able to stand long time starvation. Planarians have adapted to periods of fasting by shrinking or degrowing. Here we will review the published data about starvation in planarians and conclude with the possibility of starvation being one of the processes that rejuvenate the planarian, thus explaining the historical notion of non-ageing planarians.


Apoptosis,Autophagy,Degrowth,Fasting,Flatworm,Insulin,JNK,Planarian,Scale,Starvation,Stem cell,mTOR,