Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
A fundamental question in the basic biology of aging is whether there is a universal aging process. If indeed such a process exists, one would expect that it develops at a higher rate in short- versus long-lived species. We have quantitated pentosidine, a marker of glycoxidative stress in skin collagen from eight mammalian species as a function of age. A curvilinear increase was modeled for all species, and the rate of increase correlated inversely with maximum life-span.
Dietary energy restriction is the only proven method for extending lifespan and slowing aging in mammals, while maintaining health and vitality. Although the first experiments in this area were conducted over 60 y ago in rodents, possible applicability to primates has only been examined in controlled studies since 1987. Our project at the National Institute on Aging began with 3-0 male rhesus and 30 male squirrel monkeys of various ages over their respective life spans.
Dietary caloric restriction (CR) is the only intervention conclusively and reproducibly shown to slow aging and maintain health and vitality in mammals. Although this paradigm has been known for over 60 years, its precise biological mechanisms and applicability to humans remain unknown. We began addressing the latter question in 1987 with the first controlled study of CR in primates (rhesus and squirrel monkeys, which are evolutionarily much closer to humans than the rodents most frequently employed in CR studies).