Food and Behaviour Research

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A nutritional memory effect counteracts the benefits of dietary restriction in old mice

Hahn O, Drews LF, Nguyen A, Tatsuta T, Gkioni L, Hendrich O, Zhang Q, Langer T, Pletcher S, Wakelam MJO, Beyer A, Grönke S, Partridge L (2019) Nature Metab 2019 Sep; 

Web URL: Read the abstract on here


Dietary restriction (DR) during adulthood can greatly extend lifespan and improve metabolic health in diverse species. However, whether DR in mammals is still effective when applied for the first time at old age remains elusive.

Here, we report results of a late-life DR-switch experiment using 800 mice. Female mice aged 24 months were switched from an ad libitum (AL) diet to DR or vice versa. Strikingly, the switch from DR to AL acutely increases mortality, whereas the switch from AL to DR causes only a weak and gradual increase in survival, suggesting the body has a memory of earlier nutrition. RNA sequencing in liver and brown and white adipose tissue (BAT and WAT, respectively) demonstrates a largely refractory transcriptional and metabolic response in fat tissue to DR after an AL diet, particularly in WAT, and a proinflammatory signature in aged preadipocytes, which is prevented by chronic DR feeding.

Our results provide evidence for a ‘nutritional memory’ as a limiting factor for DR-induced longevity and metabolic remodelling of WAT in mammals.


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