Calorie restriction reduces Alzheimer’s disease neuropathology in monkeys
A report accepted for publication in the November, 2006 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Diseasedescribes the discovery of Giulio Maria Pasinetti, MD, PhD, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and colleagues that calorie restriction (CR), a technique known to extend life and delay disease in a number of species, helps protect squirrel monkeys from the development of amyloid neuropathology that is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The research is significant because of the genetic similarities of nonhuman primates such as squirrel monkeys to humans.
In earlier research published in the August 2, 2006 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Dr Pasinetti’s team identified SIRT1 activation in the brain as a mechanism by which calorie restriction is able to protect against Alzheimer’s disease-type neuropathology in mice. SIRT1 is a member of a family of genes and their proteins known as sirtuins that have been identified as regulators in the life extending effects of calorie restriction.
In collaboration with Dr. Donald Ingram at the Laboratory of Experimental Gerontology at the National Institute on Aging, Dr Pasinetti gave monkeys in the current study calorie restricted or normal diets until the animals died of natural causes. They found that reducing calories by 30 percent resulted in increased longevity and a reduction in Alzheimer-type amyloid neuropathy in the brain’s frontal cortex compared to monkeys fed non-restricted diets.
"The present study strengthens the possibility that CR may exert beneficial effects on delaying the onset of AD- amyloid brain neuropathology in humans, similar to that observed in squirrel monkey and rodent models of AD," stated Dr Pasinetti, who is a Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, and Director of the Neuroinflammation Research Center at Mount Sinai. "This new breakthrough brings great anticipation for further human study of caloric restriction, for AD investigators and for those physicians who treat millions of people suffering with this disease. The findings offer a glimmer of hope that there may someday be a way to prevent and stop this devastating disease in its tracks."
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