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Aging Cell. 2017 Oct;16(5):1155-1167. doi: 10.1111/acel.12652. Epub 2017 Aug 11.

Opposing effects on cardiac function by calorie restriction in different-aged mice.

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Department of Geratology, The First Hospital Affiliated to Nanjing Medical University, 300 Guangzhou Road, Nanjing, 210029, China.


Calorie restriction (CR) increases average and maximum lifespan and exhibits an apparent beneficial impact on age-related diseases. Several studies have shown that CR initiated either in middle or old age could improve ischemic tolerance and rejuvenate the aging heart; however, the data are not uniform when initiated in young. The accurate time to initiate CR providing maximum benefits for cardiac remodeling and function during aging remains unclear. Thus, whether a similar degree of CR initiated in mice of different ages could exert a similar effect on myocardial protection was investigated in this study. C57BL/6 mice were subjected to a calorically restricted diet (40% less than the ad libitum diet) for 3 months initiated in 3, 12, and 19 months. It was found that CR significantly reversed the aging phenotypes of middle-aged and old mice including cardiac remodeling (cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and cardiac fibrosis), inflammation, mitochondrial damage, telomere shortening, as well as senescence-associated markers but accelerated in young mice. Furthermore, whole-genome microarray demonstrated that the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-Forkhead box subgroup 'O' (FOXO) pathway might be a major contributor to contrasting regulation by CR initiated in different ages; thus, increased autophagy was seen in middle-aged and old mice but decreased in young mice. Together, the findings demonstrated promising myocardial protection by 40% CR should be initiated in middle or old age that may have vital implications for the practical nutritional regimen.


AMPK; FOXO; autophagy; calorie restriction; cardiac aging

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