Aging and caloric restriction in nonhuman primates: behavioral and in vivo brain imaging studies

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001 Apr:928:316-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2001.tb05661.x.


In a long-term longitudinal study of aging in rhesus monkeys, a primary objective has been to determine the effects of aging and caloric restriction (CR) on behavioral and neural parameters. Through the use of automated devices, locomotor activity can be monitored in the home cages of the monkeys. Studies completed thus far indicate a clear age-related decline in activity consistent with such observations in many other species, including humans. However, no consistent effects of CR on activity have been observed. Selected groups of monkeys have also been involved in brain imaging studies, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). MRI studies completed thus far reveal a clear age-related decline in the volumes of the basal ganglia, the putamen, and the caudate nucleus, with no change in total brain volume. PET analysis has revealed an age-related decline in the binding potential of dopamine D2 receptors in the same brain regions. These results are consistent with findings in humans. Although additional longitudinal analysis is needed to confirm the present results, it would appear that locomotor activity, volume of the basal ganglia, as well as dopamine D2 receptor binding potential provide reliable, noninvasive biomarkers of aging in rhesus monkeys.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Aging / pathology
  • Aging / psychology
  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / pathology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Corpus Striatum / diagnostic imaging
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Food Deprivation*
  • Humans
  • Longevity
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Raclopride / pharmacokinetics
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / metabolism
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed


  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Raclopride
  • Dopamine