Faced with reduced levels of food, animals must adjust to the consequences of the shortfall in energy. We explored how C57BL/6 mice withdrew energy from different body tissues during three months of food restriction at graded levels up to 40% (calorie restriction: CR). We compared this to the response to equivalent levels of protein restriction (PR) without a shortfall in calories. Under CR there was a dynamic change in body mass over 30 days and thereafter it stabilized. The time to reach stability was independent of the level of restriction. At the end of three months whole body dissections revealed differential utilization of the different tissues. Adipose tissue depots were the most significantly utilized tissue, and provided 55.8 to 60.9% of the total released energy. In comparison, reductions in the sizes of structural tissues contributed between 29.8 and 38.7% of the energy. The balance was made up by relatively small changes in the vital organs. The components of the alimentary tract grew slightly under restriction, particularly the stomach, and this was associated with a parallel increase in assimilation efficiency of the food (averaging 1.73%). None of the changes under CR were recapitulated by equivalent levels of PR.
Limiting food intake attenuates many of the deleterious effects of aging, impacting upon healthspan and leading to an increased lifespan. Whether it is the overall restriction of calories (calorie restriction: CR) or the incidental reduction in macronutrients such as protein (protein restriction: PR) that mediate these effects is unclear. The impact of 3 month CR or PR, (10 to 40%), on C57BL/6 mice was compared to controls fed ad libitum. Reductions in circulating leptin, tumor necrosis factor-α and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) were relative to the level of CR and individually associated with morphological changes but remained unchanged following PR. Glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity were improved following CR but not affected by PR. There was no indication that CR had an effect on oxidative damage, however CR lowered antioxidant activity. No biomarkers of oxidative stress were altered by PR. CR significantly reduced levels of major urinary proteins suggesting lowered investment in reproduction. Results here support the idea that reduced adipokine levels, improved insulin/IGF-1 signaling and reduced reproductive investment play important roles in the beneficial effects of CR while, in the short-term, attenuation of oxidative damage is not applicable. None of the positive effects were replicated with PR.
A commonly observed response in mammals to calorie restriction (CR) is reduced body temperature (Tb). We explored how the Tb of male C57BL/6 mice responded to graded CR (10 to 40%), compared to the response to equivalent levels of protein restriction (PR) over 3 months. Under CR there was a dynamic change in daily Tb over the first 30–35 days, which stabilized thereafter until day 70 after which a further decline was noted. The time to reach stability was dependent on restriction level. Body mass negatively correlated with Tb under ad libitum feeding and positively correlated under CR. The average Tb over the last 20 days was significantly related to the levels of body fat, structural tissue, leptin and insulin-like growth factor-1. Some mice, particularly those under higher levels of CR, showed periods of daily torpor later in the restriction period. None of the changes in Tb under CR were recapitulated by equivalent levels of PR. We conclude that changes in Tb under CR are a response only to the shortfall in calorie intake. The linear relationship between average Tb and the level of restriction supports the idea that Tb changes are an integral aspect of the lifespan effect.
SummaryCalorie restriction (CR) remains the most robust intervention to extend lifespan and improve health span. Using a global mass spectrometry‐based metabolomic approach, we identified 193 metabolites that were significantly differentially expressed (SDE) in the livers of C57BL/6 mice, fed graded levels of CR (10, 20, 30 and 40% CR) compared to mice fed ad libitum for 12 h a day. The differential expression of metabolites also varied with the different feeding groups. Pathway analysis revealed that graded CR had an impact on carnitine synthesis and the carnitine shuttle pathway, sphingosine‐1‐phosphate (S1P) signalling and methionine metabolism. S1P, sphingomyelin and L‐carnitine were negatively correlated with body mass, leptin, insulin‐like growth factor‐ 1 (IGF‐1) and major urinary proteins (MUPs). In addition, metabolites which showed a graded effect, such as ceramide, S1P, taurocholic acid and L‐carnitine, responded in the opposite direction to previously observed age‐related changes. We suggest that the modulation of this set of metabolites may improve liver processes involved in energy release from fatty acids. S1P also negatively correlated with catalase activity and body temperature, and positively correlated with food anticipatory activity. Injecting mice with S1P or an S1P receptor 1 agonist did not precipitate changes in body temperature, physical activity or food intake suggesting that these correlations were not causal relationships.
Food intake and circadian rhythms are regulated by hypothalamic neuropeptides and circulating hormones, which could mediate the anti‐ageing effect of calorie restriction (CR). We tested whether these two signaling pathways mediate CR by quantifying hypothalamic transcripts of male C57BL/6 mice exposed to graded levels of CR (10 % to 40 %) for 3 months. We found that the graded CR manipulation resulted in upregulation of core circadian rhythm genes, which correlated negatively with circulating levels of leptin, insulin‐like growth factor 1 (IGF‐1), insulin, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF‐α). In addition, key components in the hunger signaling pathway were expressed in a manner reflecting elevated hunger at greater levels of restriction, and which also correlated negatively with circulating levels of insulin, TNF‐α, leptin and IGF‐1. Lastly, phenotypes, such as food anticipatory activity and body temperature, were associated with expression levels of both hunger genes and core clock genes. Our results suggest modulation of the hunger and circadian signaling pathways in response to altered levels of circulating hormones, that are themselves downstream of morphological changes resulting from CR treatment, may be important elements in the response to CR, driving some of the key phenotypic outcomes.
Calorie restriction (CR) delays the onset of age-related disease and extends lifespan in a number of species. When faced with reduced energy supply animals need to lower energy demands, which may be achieved in part by reducing physical activity (PA). We monitored changes in PA using implanted transmitters in male C57BL/6 mice in response to graded levels of CR (10 to 40%) or matched levels of graded protein restriction (PR) for 3 months. Mice were fed at lights out and ad libitum controls were limited to dark-phase feeding (12AL) or 24hr/day. Total daily PA declined in a non-linear manner over the first 30 days of CR or PR, remaining stable thereafter. Total daily PA was not related to the level of CR or PR. Total daily PA over the last 20 days of restriction was related to circulating leptin, insulin, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 levels, measured after 3 months. Mice under restriction showed a high level of activity in the 2hrs before feeding (food anticipatory activity: FAA). FAA followed a complex pattern, peaking around day 20, falling on ∼day 37 then increasing again. FAA was also positively related to the level of restriction and inversely to leptin, insulin, TNF-α and IGF-1. Non-FAA, in contrast, declined over the period of restriction, generally more so in mice under greater restriction, thereby offsetting to some extent the increase in FAA. Mice under PR displayed no changes in PA over time or in comparison to 12AL, and showed no increase in FAA.
Animals have to adjust their activities when faced with caloric restriction (CR) to deal with reduced energy intake. If CR is pronounced, allostasis can push individuals into alternate physiological states which can result in important health benefits across a wide range of taxa. Here we developed a new approach to determine the changes in behavioural phenotype associated with different levels of CR. We exposed C57BL/6 male mice to graded CR (from 0 to 40%) for three months and defined their behavioural phenotype using hidden Markov models of their movement and body temperature. All 40% CR mice exhibited a state-shift in behavioural phenotype and only some exposed to 30% CR did. We show for the first time that mice changed their activity characteristics rather than changed their activities. This new phenotyping approach provides an avenue to determine the mechanisms linking CR to healthspan.
Calorie restriction (CR) may extend longevity by modulating the mechanisms involved in aging. Different hypotheses have been proposed for its main mode of action. We quantified hepatic transcripts of male C57BL/6 mice exposed to graded levels of CR (0% to 40% CR) for three months, and evaluated the responses relative to these various hypotheses. Of the four main signaling pathways implied to be linked to the impact of CR on lifespan (insulin/insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), nuclear factor-kappa beta (NF-ĸB), mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) and sirtuins (SIRTs)), all the pathways except SIRT were altered in a manner consistent with increased lifespan. However, the expression levels of SIRT4 and SIRT7 were decreased with increasing levels of CR. Changes consistent with altered fuel utilization under CR may reduce reactive oxygen species production, which was paralleled by reduced protection. Downregulated major urinary protein (MUP) transcription suggested reduced reproductive investment. Graded CR had a positive effect on autophagy and xenobiotic metabolism, and was protective with respect to cancer signaling. CR had no significant effect on fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF21) transcription but affected transcription in the hydrogen sulfide production pathway. Responses to CR were consistent with several different hypotheses, and the benefits of CR on lifespan likely reflect the combined impact on multiple aging related processes.
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