In a survey of enzymes related to protein oxidation and cellular redox state, we found activity of the redox enzyme thioredoxin reductase (TXNRD) to be elevated in cells from long-lived species of rodents, primates, and birds. Elevated TXNRD activity in long-lived species reflected increases in the mitochondrial form, TXNRD2, rather than the cytosolic forms TXNRD1 and TXNRD3. Analysis of published RNA-Seq data showed elevated TXNRD2 mRNA in multiple organs of longer-lived primates, suggesting that the phenomenon is not limited to skin-derived fibroblasts. Elevation of TXNRD2 activity and protein levels was also noted in liver of three different long-lived mutant mice, and in normal male mice treated with a drug that extends lifespan in males. Overexpression of mitochondrial TXNRD2 in Drosophila melanogaster extended median (but not maximum) lifespan in female flies with a small lifespan extension in males; in contrast, overexpression of the cytosolic form, TXNRD1, did not produce a lifespan extension.