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Dietary restriction in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Biology, Ghent University, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, BE-9000 Ghent, Belgium.


The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has proved to be an excellent model organism for the study of development and aging. Many aging mutants have been discovered in the past two decades, and much has been discovered about the physiology of long-lived mutants. It therefore seems surprising that dietary restriction (DR) has not been extensively studied using C. elegans. The main reason for this is the lack of an ideal method to subject C. elegans to DR. However, several authors have tried to study the effect of DR on the metabolism and physiology of C. elegans, and epistasis-type interaction studies have been carried out in order to detect genes that might be involved in DR effects. These studies show that DR life extension is not caused by a reduced metabolic rate, consistent with results in other species. Moreover, the well-known insulin/IGF-1 pathway seems not to mediate life-extending effects. One possibility is that target of rapamycin signaling mediates the effects of DR on life span in C. elegans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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