Calorie Restriction and Calorie Dilution Have Different Impacts on Body Fat, Metabolism, Behavior, and Hypothalamic Gene Expression

Xue Liu, Zengguang Jin, Stephanie Summers, Davina Derous, Min Li, Baoguo Li, Li Li, John R. Speakman

Cell Reports
DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110835


Caloric restriction is a robust intervention to increase lifespan. Giving less food (calorie restriction [CR]) or allowing free access to a diluted diet with indigestible components (calorie dilution [CD]) are two methods to impose restriction. CD does not generate the same lifespan effect as CR. We compare responses of C57BL/6 mice with equivalent levels of CR and CD. The two groups have different responses in fat loss, circulating hormones, and metabolic rate. CR mice are hungrier, as assessed by behavioral assays. Although gene expression of Npy, Agrp, and Pomc do not differ between CR and CD groups, CR mice had a distinctive hypothalamic gene-expression profile with many genes related to starvation upregulated relative to CD. While both result in lower calorie intake, CR and CD are not equivalent procedures. Increased hunger under CR supports the hypothesis that hunger signaling is a key process mediating the benefits of CR.