Want to live longer? Just reduce levels of inflammation throughout your body and delay the onset of age-related diseases -- eat less food, say, researchers.
The journal Cell published a study in which researchers from the US and China provided a detailed report of the cellular effects of a calorie-restricted diet in rats.
While the advantages of caloric restriction have long been known, the new results show how this restriction can protect against aging in cellular pathways.
"We already knew that calorie restriction increases life span, but now we've shown all the changes that occur at a single-cell level to cause that," said study senior author Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte from the Salk Institute in the US
"This gives us targets that we may eventually be able to act on with drugs to treat ageing in humans," Belmonte added.
For the findings, the research team compared rats who ate 30 per cent fewer calories with rats on normal diets.
The diet of animals within the age bracket of 18-27 months was controlled. (In humans, this is roughly like someone following a calorie-restricted diet from the age of fifty to 70.)
The research team isolated and analysed a complete of 168,703 cells from 40 cell types within the 56 rats from starting also as during the conclusion of the diet. The cells were from liver, kidney, aorta, skin, bone marrow, brain, muscle, and fat tissues.
In each isolated cell, the researchers used single-cell genetic-sequencing technology to track the activity levels of genes.
They also checked out the general composition of cell types within any given tissue. Then, they compared old and young mice on each diet.
Many of the changes that occurred as rats on the traditional diet grew older didn't occur in rats on a restricted diet; even in adulthood, many of the tissues and cells of animals on the diet closely resembled those of young rats.
57 per cent of the age-related changes overall in cell composition seen within the tissues of rats on a traditional diet weren't present within the rats on the calorie-restricted diet, the study said.
"This approach not only told us the effect of calorie restriction on these cell types but also provided the most complete and detailed study of what happens at a single-cell level during ageing," said study researcher Guang-Hui Liu from Chinese Academy of Sciences in China.
According to the study, a number of the cells and genes most impacted from the diet associated with immunity, inflammation and lipid metabolism.
The number of immune cells in nearly every tissue studied dramatically increased as control rats aged but was not impacted from age in rats with restricted calories.
In brown adipose tissue--one sort of fat tissue--a calorie-restricted diet reverted the expression levels of the many anti-inflammatory genes to those seen in young animals, the research said.