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Aug 15, 2022
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Reducing calories reduces the amount of protein associated with the aging process

Reducing calories reduces the amount of protein associated with the aging process

Reducing calorie intake has been shown to improve the health and longevity of laboratory animals, and recent research suggests these benefits may extend to humans.

In a new study, Yale University scientists have shown that moderate calorie restriction in humans reduces the production of a protein called SPARC, which then curbs harmful inflammation and improves the health of older adults. This could be a target for human life extension, reported Aug. 12 in the journal Immunity.

The study, led by Vishwa Deep Dixit, Professor of Pathology Waldemar von Sedtwitz, Professor of Immunobiology and Comparative Medicine, and Director of the Yale Center for Aging Research, follows a study published earlier this year that found major benefits of moderate calorie reduction for human health.

In the new study, Dixit and his co-authors further analyzed data from a clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health. In a trial known as the Comprehensive Assessment of the Long-Term Effects of Reduced Energy Intake (CALERIE), some participants reduced their calorie intake by 14% over two years, while others ate as usual; the researchers then looked at the long-term health effects.

In particular, Dixit and colleagues analyzed the study data to identify molecules that are responsible for the beneficial effects of calorie reduction and could be targets for therapeutic treatment.

By studying genetic changes in participants’ adipose tissue after one and two years, they found that those who ate fewer calories had reduced amounts of a protein called SPARC – a secreted protein containing acid and cysteine ​​- that is associated with obesity, diabetes and inflammation. .

“Because inflammation plays such a large role in age-related decline, we wanted to better understand whether longevity-promoting interventions like calorie restriction are acting through SPARC to control inflammation and immune responses,” Dixit says. So to further understand SPARC’s contribution to inflammation, they investigated the effect of the protein on the mice’s immune cells and their health.

The researchers found that SPARC triggers inflammation by turning anti-inflammatory immune cells called macrophages into a pro-inflammatory state. However, reducing the production of SPARC by the mice’s fat cells reduced inflammation, improved their metabolism, and extended their health span as they aged. The findings could lead to the prevention of age-related degradation, says Dixit.

“Now we have a better understanding of how SPARC affects inflammation and longevity by acting on macrophages,” he added. “And it could be a useful target for stimulating the health benefits of calorie restriction without having to change your calorie intake.”

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