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J Physiol. 2016 Apr 15;594(8):2043-60. doi: 10.1113/JP270543. Epub 2016 Jan 3.

Calorie restriction as an intervention in ageing.

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Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Centro Andaluz de Biología del Desarrollo, CABD-CSIC, CIBERER, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Carretera de Utrera km. 1, 41013, Sevilla, Spain.


Ageing causes loss of function in tissues and organs, is accompanied by a chronic inflammatory process and affects life- and healthspan. Calorie restriction (CR) is a non-genetic intervention that prevents age-associated diseases and extends longevity in most of the animal models studied so far. CR produces a pleiotropic effect and improves multiple metabolic pathways, generating benefits to the whole organism. Among the effects of CR, modulation of mitochondrial activity and a decrease in oxidative damage are two of the hallmarks. Oxidative damage is reduced by the induction of endogenous antioxidant systems and modulation of the peroxidability index in cell membranes. Mitochondrial activity changes are regulated by inhibition of IGF-1 and Target of Rapamycin (TOR)-dependent activities and activation of AMP-dependent kinase (AMPK) and the sirtuin family of proteins. The activity of PGC-1α and FoxO is regulated by these systems and is involved in mitochondria biogenesis, oxidative metabolism activity and mitochondrial turnover. The use of mimetics and the regulation of common factors have demonstrated that these molecular pathways are essential to explain the effect of CR in the organism. Finally, the anti-inflammatory effect of CR is an interesting emerging factor to be taken into consideration. In the present revision we focus on the general effect of CR and other mimetics in longevity, focusing especially on the cardiovascular system and skeletal muscle.

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