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Calorie Restriction Slows Aging Effects on Immune System

Study of rhesus monkeys shows low-calorie diet improves T-cell function

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Calorie restriction can lower the effects of aging on the immune system in non-human primates, according to research reported online Dec. 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Janko Nikolich-Zugich, M.D., Ph.D., of the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues conducted a 42-month study of 19- to 23-year-old rhesus monkeys to determine the long-term effects of calorie restriction on T-cell function.

T cells from 13 monkeys subjected to calorie restriction showed improved function, measured by proliferation and cytokine release after agonist stimulation, over 28 monkeys given a control diet. Calorie restriction also improved production of naive T cells and helped maintain T-cell receptor diversity.

"Our results provide evidence that calorie restriction can delay immune senescence in non-human primates, potentially contributing to extended life span by reducing susceptibility to infectious disease," the authors write. The molecular and cellular mechanism of these effects are still unknown.

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