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M L Katz, H A White, C L Gao, G S Roth, J J Knapka, D K Ingram; Dietary restriction slows age pigment accumulation in the retinal pigment epithelium.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1993;34(12):3297-3302.
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PURPOSE: The accumulation of age pigment, or lipofuscin, in postmitotic cells appears to be a universal feature of the aging process in animals. In mammals, the lipofuscin content of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) increases progressively during senescence. Dietary restriction has been shown to slow the rate at which many biologic parameters change during aging. Experiments were conducted to determine if dietary restriction alters the rate of age pigment accumulation in the RPE. METHODS: Male Wistar rats were placed on one of three dietary regimens starting at weaning. One group was fed a nutritionally complete diet ad libitum. Another group was fed the same diet but was only allowed to consume 60% as much food daily as the ad libitum group ate. The final group was fed ad libitum a nutritionally complete diet that had a lower caloric density per gram than the diets fed to the other animals primarily because of the replacement of carbohydrate with oat fiber. Ultrastructural morphometric analysis was used to determine the RPE age pigment content in the first group at 6 months of age, and in all of the groups at 18 months of age. RESULTS: Dietary restriction, achieved either by reducing total food intake or by reducing the caloric content of the diet, resulted in significant decreases in RPE lipofuscin accumulation. CONCLUSIONS: Dietary restriction provides a relatively simple means by which RPE age pigment content can be modulated. This should prove useful in assessing the role of RPE lipofuscin accumulation in age-related retinal disorders. That the oat fiber diet fed ad libitum was almost as effective as restriction of total food intake in slowing RPE age pigment accumulation indicates that the effect of restricted caloric intake is not mediated by almost constant hunger.
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