Caloric Restriction May Provide Early Benefits

Shelley X. Cao, Joseph M. Dhahbi, Patricia L. Mote, and Stephen R. Spindler[*], "Genomic Profiling of Short- and Long-Term Caloric Restriction Effects in the Liver of Aging Mice," PNAS, Vol. 98, pp.10630-10635 (September 4, 2001).

Edited by Prof. Bruce N. Ames, University of California, Berkeley, CA, and approved July 11, 2001 (received for review on June 19, 2001).
* To whom reprint requests should be addressed. E-mail:
Department of Biochemistry, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521


We present genome-wide microarray expression analysis of 11,000 genes in an aging potentially mitotic tissue, the liver. This organ has a major impact on health and homeostasis during aging. The effects of life- and health-span-extending caloric restriction (CR) on gene expression among young and old mice and between long-term CR (LT-CR) and short-term CR (ST-CR) were examined. This experimental design allowed us to accurately distinguish the effects of aging from those of CR on gene expression. Aging was accompanied by changes in gene expression associated with increased inflammation, cellular stress, and fibrosis, and reduced capacity for apoptosis, xenobiotic metabolism, normal cell-cycling, and DNA replication. LT-CR and just 4 weeks of ST-CR reversed the majority of these changes. LT-CR produced in young mice a pattern of gene expression that is a subset of the changes found in old LT-CR mice. It is possible that the early changes in gene expression, which extend into old age, are key to the life-and health-span-extending effects of CR. Further, ST-CR substantially shifted the "normo-aging" genomic profile of old control mice toward the "slow-aging" profile associated with LT-CR. Therefore, many of the genomic effects of CR are established rapidly. Thus, expression profiling should prove useful in quickly identifying CR-mimetic drugs and treatments.