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Trends Neurosci. 2001 Nov;24(11 Suppl):S21-31.

Molecular mechanisms of brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders: lessons from dietary restriction.

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Dept of Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.


The application of modern molecular and cell biology technologies to studies of the neurobiology of aging provides a window on the molecular substrates of successful brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders. Aging is associated with increased oxidative stress, disturbances in energy metabolism and inflammation-like processes. Dietary restriction (DR) can extend lifespan and might increase the resistance of the nervous system to age-related neurodegenerative disorders. The neuroprotective effect of DR involves a preconditioning response in which the production of neurotrophic factors and protein chaperones is increased resulting in protection against oxyradical production, stabilization of cellular calcium homeostasis, and inhibition of apoptosis. DR might also enhance neurogenesis, synaptic plasticity and self-repair mechanisms.

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