Med. Weter. 69 (12), 707-711, 2013

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Bajda M., Strachecka A., Paleolog J.
Reversion of senescence in honey bees (Apis mellifera)?
Honey bee workers perform a variety of functions in the colony at different ages. We call this age polyethism. Young workers, staying in the hive, and older ones, acting as foragers, are two important periods in the life of bee workers. A very interesting aspect of this age-related phenotypic plasticity has been recently discovered. It is behavioural reversion – the transition from the forager bee back to the nurse bee and the resumption of normal functions typical of this stage of development. It has been proved that the reversion is associated with higher levels of metabolic activity, development of ovaries, better-developed ovarioles, restoration of the function of the hypopharyngeal gland, which retrogrades with aging, an increase in haemolymph vitellogenin, and a decrease in the level of the juvenile hormone, which rises with age. The reversion is a very interesting phenomenon, as it consists in delaying or even reversing the physiological process of aging. This is confirmed by the fact that reversant bees live several times longer. Thus, the honey bee becomes a valuable animal model in gerontological research. .
Key words: gerontology, honey bee A. mellifera, behavioural reversion, senescence