Transition through life span is accompanied by numerous molecular changes, such as dysregulated gene expression, altered metabolite levels, and accumulated molecular damage. These changes are thought to be causal factors in aging; however, because they are numerous and are also influenced by genotype, environment, and other factors in addition to age, it is difficult to characterize the cumulative effect of these molecular changes on longevity. We reasoned that age-associated changes, such as molecular damage and tissue composition, may influence life span when used in the diet of organisms that are closely related to those that serve as a dietary source. To test this possibility, we used species-specific culture media and diets that incorporated molecular extracts of young and old organisms and compared the influence of these diets on the life span of yeast, fruitflies, and mice. In each case, the "old" diet or medium shortened the life span for one or both sexes. These findings suggest that age-associated molecular changes, such as cumulative damage and altered dietary composition, are deleterious and causally linked with aging and may affect life span through diet.
Keywords: Yeast; aging; damage; flies; lifespan; mice; molecular changes.