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Am J Physiol. 1997 Oct;273(4):E714-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1997.273.4.E714.

Caloric restriction increases HDL2 levels in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta).

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Arizona Center on Aging, Tucson 85719, USA.


Caloric restriction (CR) prolongs the life of rodents and other small animals, but the benefits of CR for primates and people are as yet unknown, and mechanisms by which CR may slow aging remain unidentified. A study of rhesus monkeys, Macaca mulatta, is underway to determine if CR might prolong life span in primates and to evaluate potential mechanisms for life prolongation. Thirty rhesus monkeys in three age cohorts, restricted to 70% of ad libitum calorie intake for 6-7 yr, were compared with 30 controls. Plasma lipid, lipoprotein, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) apolipoproteins and subfractions were measured and compared with weight, percent fat, glucose, and insulin level. CR caused decreased triglyceride levels in adult monkeys and increased levels of HDL2b, the HDL subfraction associated with protection from atherosclerosis. Multivariate statistical analyses showed that differences in lipid and lipoprotein levels occurring with CR could be accounted for, at least in part, by decreased body mass and improved glucose regulation. These studies have used a novel dietary modification paradigm in nonhuman primates focused on calorie reduction. Results suggest that CR, as mediated by its beneficial effect on body composition and glucose metabolism, could prolong human life by decreasing the incidence of atherosclerosis.

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