• ad libitum;
  • aging;
  • Caenorhabditis elegans;
  • calorie restriction;
  • dietary restriction;
  • reproduction


Dietary restriction (DR) is well known as a nongenetic intervention that robustly extends lifespan in a variety of species; however, its underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We have found in Caenorhabditis elegans that dietary deprivation (DD) during adulthood, defined as removal of their food source Escherichia coli after the completion of larval development, increased lifespan and enhanced thermotolerance and resistance to oxidative stress. DD-induced longevity was independent of one C. elegans SIRTUIN, sir-2.1, which is required for the effects of DR, and was independent of the daf-2/insulin-like signaling pathway that independently regulates longevity and larval diapause in C. elegans. DD did not significantly alter lifespan of fem-1(hc17); eat-2(ad465) worms, a genetic model of DR. These findings suggest that DD and DR share some downstream effectors. In addition, DD was detrimental for longevity when imposed on reproductively active young adults, suggesting that DD may only be beneficial in the absence of competing metabolic demands, such as fertility. Adult-onset DD offers a new paradigm for investigating dietary regulation of longevity in C. elegans. This study presents the first evidence that long-term DD, instead of being detrimental, can extend lifespan of a multicellular adult organism.