Autophagy and Calorie Restriction

Calorie restriction is known to increase autophagy in at least some cell populations. This process of repair and turnover of materials is of general benefit. "Autophagy often gets overlooked as 'just housekeeping.' [In fact], failures in keeping house likely contribute to diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration. In addition, autophagy wanes with age for reasons that aren't yet clear [and] is 'mechanistically important' in aging itself." Here is an example of confirming research: "Autophagy is a highly regulated intracellular process for the degradation of cellular constituents and essential for the maintenance of a healthy cell. We evaluated the effects of age and life-long calorie restriction on autophagy in heart and liver of young (6 months) and old (26 months) [rats]. We observed that the occurrence of autophagic vacuoles was higher in heart than liver. The occurrence of autophagic vacuoles was not affected by age in either tissue, but was increased with calorie restriction in heart but not in liver. ... calorie restriction may mediate some of its beneficial effects by stimulating autophagy in the heart, indicating the potential for cardioprotective therapies."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17665967

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