Modulation of Gene Expression in Autoimmune Disease and Aging by Food Restriction and Dietary Lipids

G. Fernandes, J. Venkatraman, A. Khare, G. J.M.J. Horbach, W. Friedrichs

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45 Scopus citations


Several recent observations carried out by many investigators have offered some clues in understanding the mechanism of how food restriction (FR) acts in the prolongation of life-span, but the precise mechanisms involved in modulating the immune system have not been clearly understood. Our own ongoing studies indicate that FR may act at the molecular level and may extend the life-span by modulating functional activities of several genes in various target tissues. For instance, while cytochrome P-450 IIB1 and IIB2 expression is known to decline with age in ad libitum-fed rats, FR prevented the loss of (drug-inducible) P-450 enzymes in liver tissues. In addition, both α 2u-globulin and senescence marker protein 2 expressions, which are regulated by hormones, were also modulated during aging by FR in Fischer 344 male rats. In short-lived autoimmune-prone mice, both FR and omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids diet lowered the severity of autoimmune disease both in lupus-prone (NZB × NZW)F1 mice and in mice prone to develop lymphoproliferative and renal diseases, whereas saturated (n-9) and polyunsaturated (n-6) dietary lipids not only exacerbated autoimmune disease, but also significantly enhanced expression of several oncogenes in lymphoid tissues. FR and omega-3 fatty acids decreased the expression of certain oncogenes. Both FR and omega-3 fatty acids may modulate the aging and autoimmune disease processes by not only altering the fatty acid composition, membrane fluidity, and signal transduction, but also by modulating the lymphokine hormone receptors and their functions and thereby modulating expression of several genes in various tissues during the aging process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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