Caloric restriction, body fat and ageing in experimental models

Obes Rev. 2004 Feb;5(1):13-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789x.2004.00115.x.


Caloric restriction in animal models delays many age-related pathological conditions. Ageing rats have characteristically increased body weight, fat mass and a specific body fat distribution. This report will focus on the potential cause-effect relationship between increased fat mass and accelerated ageing. In humans, increased fat mass (obesity), and in particular increases in abdominal obesity as a result of deposition of visceral fat, are associated with the metabolic syndrome of ageing. This syndrome is associated with hyperinsulinaemia, dyslipidaemia, type 2 diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, hypercoagulability and hypertension. Fat tissue, however, plays a major role by secreting multiple metabolically active factors, which are potentially responsible for the development of insulin resistance. This article will review various experimental models (in animals) used to prevent insulin resistance of ageing by decreasing fat mass, and in particular, decreasing visceral fat. We suggest that this decrease in fat mass and its beneficial repercussions observed in ageing animal models may apply also to human ageing and its related pathology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue* / physiology
  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Body Composition
  • Energy Intake*
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Leptin / physiology
  • Models, Animal*
  • Rats
  • Viscera


  • Insulin
  • Leptin