A new study in mice by neuroscientist Peter O’Donnell of UT Southwestern shows that it’s not just calories that count.

Researchers led by Dr. Joseph Takahashi, a researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and researchers led by Dr. Joseph Takahashi extended the lifespan of laboratory mice by more than three times the calorie limit. Department of Neuroscience and Dr. Carla Green, Professor of Neurology. The findings are reported in science.

We have discovered a new aspect of calorie restriction that drastically extends the life of our laboratory animals. If these findings are true in humans, we may want to rethink whether we really want this midnight breakfast. “

Dr. Joseph Takahashi, distinguished chairman of neurology at Lloyd B. Sands

Their findings show:

  • The mice, which ate so much and whenever they wanted, lived an average life expectancy of almost 800 days – an average period for their species
  • Calorie restriction, but providing food around the clock prolongs their life by only 10% to 875 days, despite the calorie restriction by 30-40%.
  • Limiting this low-calorie diet to the inactive period of the circadian cycle increased life expectancy by almost 20% to an average of 959 days.
  • Offering a low-calorie diet only during the active period of the cycle extends their average life expectancy to about 1,068 days, an increase of almost 35% compared to people who eat unlimited.

“It’s pretty clear that eating time is important to get the most out of your calorie-restricted money,” said Dr. Takahashi, one of 26 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 17 members of the National Medical Academy at UT Southwestern. .

An important and controversial aspect of these studies is that body weight is not affected by diet or eating time – there are no differences in body weight between the five low-calorie groups despite significant differences in life expectancy.

“This shows that with low body weight, this popular criterion for health (body weight) is not a predictor of life expectancy,” said Dr. Green, a prominent neuroscientist at UT Southwestern.

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Further research showed that mice that lived the longest had significantly better metabolic health, with higher insulin sensitivity and blood sugar stability. They tend to get diseases that kill younger mice, such as various forms of cancer, at a much older age. Gene expression experiments show fewer changes in the activity of genes associated with inflammation, metabolism and aging in long-lived animals than in those with shorter lives.

“Our findings serve as evidence for the principle of studying circadian clocks as potential targets for slowing aging,” said Dr. Victoria Acosta-Rodriguez, a neurology instructor at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study.

Data disassembly

Dr Takahashi explained that experiments dating back to the 1930s showed that reducing the typical calorie count by about a third prolongs life expectancy, as well as health – the length of time before disease occurs. related to old age – in each species in which this phenomenon has been studied. Recent research shows that periods of starvation and restriction of diet to active hours also improve health.

However, most calorie-limiting experiments to date have included feeding laboratory mice – which are nocturnal – on a daily schedule consistent with their human care. The UTSW team uses automatic feeders to avoid this.

To uncover the effects of calorie restriction, starvation and eating time on life expectancy and health, Takahashi Laboratory and Green Lab, along with colleagues, tracked the life expectancy and health of six groups of mice over four years.

Dr. Green and Takahashi are members of the O’Donnell Brain Institute, which recently completed a five-year $ 1 billion campaign to fuel its commitment to advancing brain research and clinical care. Other UTSW researchers who have contributed include Philippa Richo-Ferreira, a former associate at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Mariko Izumo, Pin Sue and Mary White-Carter.

Reference in the magazine:

Acosta-Rodriguez, W., et al. (2022) The circadian alignment of calorie restriction at an early stage promotes longevity in male C57BL / 6J mice. science. doi.org/10.1126/science.abk0297.

The story first appeared in News Medical

Neuroscientists discover a new facet to caloric restriction that dramatically extends life span

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