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Exp Gerontol. 2005 Nov;40(11):878-83. Epub 2005 Aug 25.

Extended longevity and insulin signaling in adipose tissue.

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Department of Internal Medicine III, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.


Caloric restriction and leanness have been shown to increase longevity in organisms ranging from yeast to mammals. Adipose tissue seems to be a pivotal organ in the aging process and in determination of lifespan. We have recently shown that fat-specific disruption of the insulin receptor gene is sufficient to increase lifespan in FIRKO mice, suggesting that reduced adiposity, even in the presence of normal or increased food intake, can extend lifespan. The model also suggests a special role for the insulin-signaling pathway in adipose tissue in the longevity process. Reduced fat mass has an impact on the duration of life in several other model organisms. In Drosophila, a specific reduction in the fat body through overexpression of forkhead type transcription factor (dFOXO) extends lifespan. Furthermore, sirtuin1 (SIRT1), the mammalian ortholog of the life-extending yeast gene silent information regulator 2 (SIR2), was proposed to be involved in the molecular mechanisms linking lifespan to adipose tissue. In the control of human aging and longevity, one of the striking physiological characteristics identified in centenarians is their greatly increased insulin sensitivity even compared with younger individuals. The effect of reduced adipose tissue mass on lifespan could be due to the prevention of obesity-related metabolic disorders including type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis.

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