Ablation of insulin-producing cells prevents obesity but not premature mortality caused by a high-sugar diet in Drosophila

Proc Biol Sci. 2015 Feb 7;282(1800):20141720. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1720.


Ageing can be modulated by genetic as well as nutritional interventions. In female Drosophila melanogaster, lifespan is maximized at intermediate concentrations of sucrose as the carbohydrate source, and yeast as the protein source. Dampening the signal through the insulin/IGF signalling (IIS) pathway, by genetic ablation of median neurosecretory cells (mNSCs) that produce insulin-like peptides, extends lifespan and counteracts the detrimental effects of excess yeast. However, how IIS reduction impacts health on a high-sugar diet remains unclear. We find that, while the ablation of the mNSCs can extend lifespan and delay the age-related decline in the health of the neuromuscular system irrespective of the amount of dietary sugar, it cannot rescue the lifespan-shortening effects of excess sugar. On the other hand, ablation of mNSCs can prevent adult obesity resulting from excess sugar, and this effect appears independent from the canonical effector of IIS, dfoxo. Our study indicates that while treatments that reduce IIS have anti-ageing effects irrespective of dietary sugar, additional interventions may be required to achieve full benefits in humans, where excessive sugar consumption is a growing problem. At the same time, pathways regulated by IIS may be suitable targets for treatment of obesity.

Keywords: Drosophila melanogaster; ageing; high-sugar diet; insulin/IGF-like signalling; obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / cytology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Female
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Longevity
  • Neurosecretion
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sucrose / metabolism*


  • Insulin
  • Sucrose

Associated data

  • Dryad/10.5061/dryad.T04V4