Skin-to-Skin Contact: Crucial for Improving Behavior, Immunity, and Redox State after Short Cohabitation of Chronologically Old Mice and Prematurely Aging Mice with Adult Mice.
(1) Background: Aging is characterized by a deterioration of the homeostatic systems, namely the nervous and immune systems. The rate of aging can be modified by lifestyle factors such as social interactions. Recently, improvements in behavior, immune function, and oxidative state were observed in adult prematurely aging mice (PAM) and chronologically old mice after cohabitation with exceptional non-PAM (E-NPAM) and adult mice, respectively, for 2 months. However, the cause of this positive effect is not known. The objective of the present work was to study whether skin-to-skin contact promotes these improvements both in chronologically old mice and in adult PAM. (2) Methods: Old and adult CD1 female mice were used as well as adult PAM and E-NPAM. After cohabitation for 15 min/day for 2 months (two old mice or PAM with five adult mice or E-NPAM, respectively, with both non- and skin-to-skin contact), several behavioral tests were performed and functions and oxidative stress parameters in peritoneal leukocytes were analyzed. (3) Results: This social interaction improved behavioral responses, immune functions, redox state, and longevity, but only if the animals had skin-to-skin contact. (4) Conclusions: Physical contact seems to be crucial to experiencing the positive effects of social interaction.