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Keywords:

  • obesity;
  • animal models;
  • insulin sensitivity;
  • amino acid sensing

Abstract

Calorie restriction (CR) without malnutrition increases lifespan and produces significant improvements in biomarkers of metabolic health. The improvements are attributable in part to effects of CR on energy balance, which limit fat accumulation by restricting energy intake. Normal age-associated increases in adiposity and insulin resistance are associated with development of a systemic proinflammatory state, while chronic CR limits fat deposition and expression of inflammatory markers. Dietary methionine restriction (MR) has emerged as an effective CR mimetic because it produces a comparable extension in lifespan. MR also reduces adiposity through a compensatory increase in energy expenditure that effectively limits fat accumulation, but essentially nothing is known about the effects of MR on systemic inflammation. Here, we review the relationships between these two interventions and discuss their transcriptional impact. In addition, using tissues from rats after long-term consumption of CR or MR diets, transcriptional profiling was used to examine retrospectively the systems biology of 59 networks of molecules annotated to inflammation. Transcriptional effects of both diets occurred primarily in white adipose tissue and liver, and the responses to MR were far more robust than those to CR. The primary transcriptional targets of MR in both liver and white adipose tissue were phagocytes and macrophages, where expression of genes associated with immune cell infiltration and quantity was reduced. These findings support the conclusion that anti-inflammatory responses produced by CR and MR are not strictly dependent upon reduced adiposity but are significantly influenced by the metabolic mechanisms through which energy balance is altered. © 2013 BioFactors, 40(1):13–26, 2014