Caloric Restriction Mimetics against Age-Associated Disease: Targets, Mechanisms, and Therapeutic Potential

Cell Metab. 2019 Mar 5;29(3):592-610. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2019.01.018.


The increase in life expectancy has boosted the incidence of age-related pathologies beyond social and economic sustainability. Consequently, there is an urgent need for interventions that revert or at least prevent the pathogenic age-associated deterioration. The permanent or periodic reduction of calorie intake without malnutrition (caloric restriction and fasting) is the only strategy that reliably extends healthspan in mammals including non-human primates. However, the strict and life-long compliance with these regimens is difficult, which has promoted the emergence of caloric restriction mimetics (CRMs). We define CRMs as compounds that ignite the protective pathways of caloric restriction by promoting autophagy, a cytoplasmic recycling mechanism, via a reduction in protein acetylation. Here, we describe the current knowledge on molecular, cellular, and organismal effects of known and putative CRMs in mice and humans. We anticipate that CRMs will become part of the pharmacological armamentarium against aging and age-related cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and malignant diseases.

Keywords: AMPK; NAD; acetyl-CoA; acetyltransferases; aspirin; deacetylases; fasting; hydroxycitric acid; mTOR; metformin; nicotine adenine dinucleotide precursors; polyphenols; rapamycin; resveratrol; sirtuins; spermidine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging* / metabolism
  • Aging* / pathology
  • Animals
  • Biomimetics*
  • Caloric Restriction / methods*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy


  • Hypoglycemic Agents