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.
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.
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