Serum from humans on long term calorie restriction enhances stress resistance in cell culture

Daniela Omodei, Danilo Licastro, Francesco Salvatore, Seth D. Crosby, Luigi Fontana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Calorie restriction (CR) without malnutrition is the most robust intervention to slow aging and extend healthy lifespan in experimental model organisms. Several metabolic and molecular adaptations have been hypothesized to play a role in mediating the anti-aging effects of CR, including enhanced stress resistance, reduced oxidative stress and several neuroendocrine modifications. However, little is known about the independent effect of circulating factors in modulating key molecular pathways. In this study, we used sera collected from individuals practicing long-term CR and from age- and sex-matched individuals on a typical US diet to culture human primary fibroblasts and assess the effects on gene expression and stress resistance. We show that treatment of cultured cells with CR sera caused increased expression of stress-response genes and enhanced tolerance to oxidants. Cells cultured in serum from CR individuals showed a 30% increase in resistance to H2O2 damage. Consistently, SOD2 and GPX1 mRNA, two key endogenous antioxidant enzymes, were increased by 2 and 2.5 folds respectively in cells cultured with CR sera. These cellular and molecular adaptations mirror some of the key effects of CR in animals, and further suggest that circulating factors contribute to the CR-mediated protection against oxidative stress and stress-response in humans as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-606
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2013


  • Aging
  • Calorie restriction
  • Oxidative stress
  • Stress resistance

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