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Russian-US research team discovers long-term, low-calorie diet slows cell ageing

The scientists found out that the longer an animal follows this diet, the more pronounced the slowing down of the ageing changes are

MOSCOW, May 29. /TASS/. A longstanding, low-calorie diet prevents the formation of changes in the genes responsible for the body’s ageing, researchers from the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) and Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA) ascertained. This news has been reported by Skoltech’s press office.

"We can see that a low-calorie diet has an accumulative effect, and the longer an animal follows this diet, the more pronounced the slowing down of the ageing changes are. Yet, a short-term impact causes some changes typical for the ageing process. However, they disappear quite fast during the course of further dieting," said Alexander Tyshkovsky study co-author, and PhD student at Skoltech.

When a body starts aging, many molecular changes take place including epigenetic transformations, that is, modifications of DNA and proteins that do not affect the sequence of the genetic code but have a significant impact on the functioning of the genes. One such process is DNA methylation, which "hangs" additional methyl-groups on a DNA.

The scientists from Skoltech and Harvard studied the methylation dynamics in the blood of mice during ageing in 16 age groups. It turned out that the changes appear mostly in advanced age. The results of the study were published in the Aging Cell journal.

Moreover, the researchers pinpointed the particular cell mechanisms, which are affected by the changes and found out that many of them are already known to play an important role in the ageing process and are targeted by drugs that can extend the life of an animal.

Then, the scientists tracked how a low-calorie diet influences these processes. It was proven that for mice with long-term calorie restrictions, the ageing changes decelerated while the short-term reduction in daily intake not only demonstrated no effect on ageing changes, but also accelerated them.