Many animal studies have shown that restriction of caloric intake helps to reduce age-related health problems and new research shows it can prevent infertility and birth defects too.
Investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have suggested that from a mice study that this strategy may combat a major cause of age-associated infertility and birth defects.
They have shown that restricting the caloric intake of adult female mice prevents a spectrum of abnormalities, such as extra or missing copies of chromosomes, which arise more frequently in egg cells of aging female mammals.
"We found that we could completely prevent, in a mouse model, essentially every aspect of the declining egg quality typical of older females," Jonathan Tilly, PhD, director of the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology in the MGH Vincent Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, who led the study, said.
"We also identified a gene that can be manipulated to reproduce the effects of dietary caloric restriction and improve egg quality in aging animals fed a normal diet, which gives us clues that we may be able to alter this highly regulated process with compounds now being developed to mimic the effects of caloric restriction," he stated.
The study appeared in this week's online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.