Calorie restriction in nonhuman primates: assessing effects on brain and behavioral aging

Neuroscience. 2007 Apr 14;145(4):1359-64. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2006.10.031. Epub 2007 Jan 16.


Dietary caloric restriction (CR) is the only intervention repeatedly demonstrated to retard the onset and incidence of age-related diseases, maintain function, and extend both lifespan and health span in mammals, including brain and behavioral function. In 70 years of study, such beneficial effects have been demonstrated in rodents and lower animals. Recent results emerging from ongoing studies of CR in humans and nonhuman primates suggest that many of the same anti-disease and anti-aging benefits observed in rodent studies may be applicable to long-lived species. Results of studies in rhesus monkeys indicate that CR animals (30% less than controls) are healthier than fully-fed counterparts based on reduced incidence of various diseases, exhibit significantly better indices of predisposition to disease and may be aging at a slower rate based on analysis of selected indices of aging. The current review discusses approaches taken in studies of rhesus monkeys to analyze age-related changes in brain and behavioral function and the impact of CR on these changes. Approaches include analyses of gross and fine locomotor performance as well as brain imaging. In a related study it was observed that short-term CR (6 months) in adult rhesus monkeys can provide protection against a neurotoxic insult. Increasing interest in the CR paradigm will expand its role in demonstrating how nutrition can modulate the rate of aging and the mechanisms responsible for this modulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Aging / pathology
  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / diagnostic imaging
  • Basal Ganglia / metabolism*
  • Basal Ganglia / physiopathology
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • DNA Damage / physiology
  • Food Deprivation / physiology*
  • Longevity / physiology
  • Macaca mulatta / genetics
  • Macaca mulatta / metabolism*
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / physiopathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / prevention & control
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / metabolism


  • Receptors, Dopamine D2