The effects of age and dietary restriction on the tissue-specific metabolome of Drosophila

Aging Cell. 2015 Oct;14(5):797-808. doi: 10.1111/acel.12358. Epub 2015 Jun 18.


Dietary restriction (DR) is a robust intervention that extends lifespan and slows the onset of age-related diseases in diverse organisms. While significant progress has been made in attempts to uncover the genetic mechanisms of DR, there are few studies on the effects of DR on the metabolome. In recent years, metabolomic profiling has emerged as a powerful technology to understand the molecular causes and consequences of natural aging and disease-associated phenotypes. Here, we use high-resolution mass spectroscopy and novel computational approaches to examine changes in the metabolome from the head, thorax, abdomen, and whole body at multiple ages in Drosophila fed either a nutrient-rich ad libitum (AL) or nutrient-restricted (DR) diet. Multivariate analysis clearly separates the metabolome by diet in different tissues and different ages. DR significantly altered the metabolome and, in particular, slowed age-related changes in the metabolome. Interestingly, we observed interacting metabolites whose correlation coefficients, but not mean levels, differed significantly between AL and DR. The number and magnitude of positively correlated metabolites was greater under a DR diet. Furthermore, there was a decrease in positive metabolite correlations as flies aged on an AL diet. Conversely, DR enhanced these correlations with age. Metabolic set enrichment analysis identified several known (e.g., amino acid and NAD metabolism) and novel metabolic pathways that may affect how DR effects aging. Our results suggest that network structure of metabolites is altered upon DR and may play an important role in preventing the decline of homeostasis with age.

Keywords: Drosophila; aging; bioinformatics; dietary restriction; metabolome; metabolomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen*
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Female
  • Food Deprivation / physiology*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolome*
  • Multivariate Analysis