Effects of aging and calorie restriction on white matter in rhesus macaques

B. B. Bendlin, E. Canu, A. Willette, E. K. Kastman, D. G. McLaren, K. J. Kosmatka, G. Xu, A. S. Field, R. J. Colman, C. L. Coe, R. H. Weindruch, A. L. Alexander, S. C. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rhesus macaques on a calorie restricted diet (CR) develop less age-related disease, have virtually no indication of diabetes, are protected against sarcopenia, and potentially live longer. Beneficial effects of caloric restriction likely include reductions in age-related inflammation and oxidative damage. Oligodendrocytes are particularly susceptible to inflammation and oxidative stress, therefore, we hypothesized that CR would have a beneficial effect on brain white matter and would attenuate age-related decline in this tissue. CR monkeys and controls underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). A beneficial effect of CR indexed by DTI was observed in superior longitudinal fasciculus, fronto-occipital fasciculus, external capsule, and brainstem. Aging effects were observed in several regions, although CR appeared to attenuate age-related alterations in superior longitudinal fasciculus, frontal white matter, external capsule, right parahippocampal white matter, and dorsal occipital bundle. The results, however, were regionally specific and also suggested that CR is not salutary across all white matter. Further evaluation of this unique cohort of elderly primates to mortality will shed light on the ultimate benefits of an adult-onset, moderate CR diet for deferring brain aging.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Aging
  • Caloric restriction
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Rhesus macaque
  • White matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Ageing
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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