Lifespan extension in Caenorhabditis elegans by complete removal of food

Aging Cell. 2006 Dec;5(6):487-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2006.00238.x. Epub 2006 Nov 1.


A partial reduction in food intake has been found to increase lifespan in many different organisms. We report here a new dietary restriction regimen in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, based on the standard agar plate lifespan assay, in which adult worms are maintained in the absence of a bacterial food source. These findings represent the first report in any organism of lifespan extension in response to prolonged starvation. Removal of bacterial food increases lifespan to a greater extent than partial reduction of food through a mechanism that is distinct from insulin/IGF-like signaling and the Sir2-family deacetylase, SIR-2.1. Removal of bacterial food also increases lifespan when initiated in postreproductive adults, suggesting that dietary restriction started during middle age can result in a substantial longevity benefit that is independent of reproduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Caloric Restriction
  • Fertility / physiology
  • Food Deprivation / physiology*
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Longevity / physiology*
  • Models, Animal
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / genetics
  • Sirtuins / genetics
  • Sirtuins / metabolism
  • Stress, Physiological / genetics
  • Stress, Physiological / metabolism


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Eat-2 protein, C elegans
  • Insulin
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • SIR-2.1 protein, C elegans
  • Sirtuins