Life-long diet restriction failed to retard cognitive aging in Fischer-344 rats

Neurobiol Aging. Mar-Apr 1999;20(2):177-89. doi: 10.1016/s0197-4580(99)00031-7.


Although the beneficial effects of diet restriction on longevity and the retardation of many somatic age-related processes are well established, the answer to the question of whether anti-aging effects of diet restriction extend to the brain and cognitive function remains unclear. In the present study, the effects of long-term dietary restriction (60% of ad-libitum calories) on an age-related alteration of memory and sensorimotor function have been investigated in Fischer 344 male rats at four different ages: 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months. A major drop in reference memory of DR and AL rats occurred at the age of 18 months. The performance deficits in working memory tasks were observed in both diet groups at the age of 24 months. These results indicate that diet restriction failed to provide protection against age-related deficits in memory. Although DR rats outperformed AL rats in sensorimotor tasks throughout the life-span, the slope of the declining function in DR rats paralleled those of AL rats, suggesting that diet restriction failed to alter the rate of aging in sensorimotor performance, as well.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Swimming / physiology
  • Time