Physiologic determinants of the anorexia of aging: insights from animal studies

Annu Rev Nutr. 2002;22:417-38. doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.22.120301.071049. Epub 2002 Jan 4.


The anorexia of aging is a syndrome characterized by unexplained losses in food intake and body weight that occur near the end of life. Proposed etiologies cover a wide range of biological and psychological conditions. The observation of this phenomenon in older laboratory animals suggests that physiological changes play a significant causal role. Research on the neurochemical control of energy balance has received much attention in recent years, and age-related alterations in the neuropeptidergic effectors of food intake have been implicated in the anorexia of aging. This review provides an update on putative mechanisms underlying this dysregulation of feeding during advanced age.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Anorexia / etiology
  • Anorexia / physiopathology*
  • Appetite Regulation*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eating
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Leptin / physiology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology


  • Leptin
  • Neurotransmitter Agents