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Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 28;9(1):3138. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40011-z.

Maternal age alters offspring lifespan, fitness, and lifespan extension under caloric restriction.

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Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, 02543, USA.
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, 55905, USA.
California State University, Northridge, Northridge, CA, 91330, USA.
Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, 02543, USA.


Maternal age has a negative effect on offspring lifespan in a range of taxa and is hypothesized to influence the evolution of aging. However, the mechanisms of maternal age effects are unknown, and it remains unclear if maternal age alters offspring response to therapeutic interventions to aging. Here, we evaluate maternal age effects on offspring lifespan, reproduction, and the response to caloric restriction, and investigate maternal investment as a source of maternal age effects using the rotifer, Brachionus manjavacas, an aquatic invertebrate. We found that offspring lifespan and fecundity decline with increasing maternal age. Caloric restriction increases lifespan in all offspring, but the magnitude of lifespan extension is greater in the offspring from older mothers. The trade-off between reproduction and lifespan extension under low food conditions expected by life history theory is observed in young-mother offspring, but not in old-mother offspring. Age-related changes in maternal resource allocation to reproduction do not drive changes in offspring fitness or plasticity under caloric restriction in B. manjavacas. Our results suggest that the declines in reproduction in old-mother offspring negate the evolutionary fitness benefits of lifespan extension under caloric restriction.

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