Heart health

Sunday 13 December 2009, 23:18

Effects of dietary restriction on the aging heart

How dietary restriction may be beneficial for the aging heart

Effects of dietary restriction on the aging heart

A recent study conducted by US researchers has revealed that dietary restriction (or calorie restriction) has many beneficial effects on the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway in the heart and that the preservation of this pathway may be a potential mechanism by which dietary restriction exerts beneficial effects on the aging cardiovascular system.


The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (UPP) is a proteolytic system responsible for the degradation of a variety of intracellular proteins. It has been demonstrated that aging is associated with the inhibition of this proteolytic system in many tissues and with the intracellular accumulation of oxidized and aberrant proteins which may directly or indirectly contribute to age-related deleterious changes in cellular homeostasis.


Earlier studies had already shown that dietary restriction improves age-related changes in many body's systems and organs, such as liver, cardiovascular system, immune system and CNS (Central Nervous System). As concerns the cardiovascular system, we already knew that dietary restriction contributes to reducing heart rate, blood pressure and atherosclerosis and promotes overall beneficial effects on heart function. However the molecular mechanisms at the base of these beneficial effectes were not known until today.


The results achieved by the US researchers have highlighted one of the possible biochemical mechanisms by which dietary restriction ameliorates many age-related effects on the heart. These results reveal that the age-related progressive inhibition of the UPP is reduced with dietary restriction and consequently oxidized and aberrant proteins (which are some of the many substrates of the UPP) don't accumulate in the myocardiocytes.


Since the accumulation of oxidized proteins plays a key role in aging and age-related cellular degeneration, the preservation of UPP proteolytic activity by dietary restriction may be a beneficial event to cardiomyocyte function and may contribute to the overall beneficial effects of dietary restriction on the heart.


By Chiara De Carli

Category: Heart health

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