Reproduction, Fat Metabolism, and Life Span: What Is the Connection?

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Del E. Webb Neuroscience, Aging and Stem Cell Research Center, Development and Aging Program, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA. Electronic address: .
Cell metabolism (Impact Factor: 17.57). 01/2013; 17(1):10-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2012.12.003
Source: PubMed


Reduced reproduction is associated with increased fat storage and prolonged life span in multiple organisms, but the underlying regulatory mechanisms remain poorly understood. Recent studies in several species provide evidence that reproduction, fat metabolism, and longevity are directly coupled. For instance, germline removal in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans promotes longevity in part by modulating lipid metabolism through effects on fatty acid desaturation, lipolysis, and autophagy. Here, we review these recent studies and discuss the mechanisms by which reproduction modulates fat metabolism and life span. Elucidating the relationship between these processes could contribute to our understanding of age-related diseases including metabolic disorders.

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Available from: Hugo Aguilaniu, Nov 23, 2014
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    • "Resetting of anatomical or metabolic features of internal organs may thus be a broadly used strategy to achieve a positive energy balance which, when matched to the developing offspring's demands, will contribute to reproductive success. However, if deployed in the absence of such demands, organ remodelling could contribute to the weight gain and increased fat mass that has been observed upon gonadectomy of multiple species including mice, rats, cats, monkeys, and other mammals (Hansen et al., 2013 and references therein). In a more physiological context, inappropriate persistence of such metabolic remodelling beyond pregnancy and lactation could similarly contribute to post-pregnancy weight retention in humans—a phenotype that, at least in mice, is correlated with enhanced intestinal function (Casirola and Ferraris, 2003; Gore et al., 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: The production of offspring is energetically costly and relies on incompletely understood mechanisms that generate a positive energy balance. In mothers of many species, changes in key energy-associated internal organs are common yet poorly characterised functionally and mechanistically. In this study, we show that, in adult Drosophila females, the midgut is dramatically remodelled to enhance reproductive output. In contrast to extant models, organ remodelling does not occur in response to increased nutrient intake and/or offspring demands, but rather precedes them. With spatially and temporally directed manipulations, we identify juvenile hormone (JH) as an anticipatory endocrine signal released after mating. Acting through intestinal bHLH-PAS domain proteins Methoprene-tolerant (Met) and Germ cell-expressed (Gce), JH signals directly to intestinal progenitors to yield a larger organ, and adjusts gene expression and sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) activity in enterocytes to support increased lipid metabolism. Our findings identify a metabolically significant paradigm of adult somatic organ remodelling linking hormonal signals, epithelial plasticity, and reproductive output.
    eLife Sciences 07/2015; 4. DOI:10.7554/eLife.06930 · 9.32 Impact Factor
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    • "Reproduction is one of the fundamental biological processes in an individual's life, yet it is energetically and metabolically costly (Stearns 1992; Harshman and Zera 2007; Hansen et al. 2013). In oviparous species, for example, the metabolic rate of females increases by up to 27 % during egg laying (Nilsson and Råberg 2001), and both fat and protein reserves become depleted (Williams 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress has been suggested as a mechanism underlying the costs of reproduction and life history trade-offs. Reproductive activities may lead to high production of pro-oxidants, whose activity can generate oxidative damage when not countered by adequate antioxidant defenses. Because inter-individual differences in the efficiency of the antioxidant system are influenced by an individual’s diet, food availability experienced during reproduction may affect the females’ antioxidant status and, in birds, their ability to transfer antioxidants into their eggs. Moreover, a female’s ability to cope with oxidative stress has been suggested to influence pigment deposition in the eggshell, suggesting a possible signaling function of eggshell maculation. Here we performed a food supplementation experiment in a natural population of great tits (Parus major) in order to investigate how nutritional conditions experienced during the egg laying period affect the female’s oxidative status and egg investment and how maternal oxidative status and egg antioxidant protection relate to eggshell pigmentation. We show that food-supplemented females had lower oxidative damage levels (ROMs) than non-food-supplemented females. Furthermore, a female’s ROMs levels were negatively associated with the levels of yolk antioxidant protection in her eggs, but this negative association was only significant in non-food-supplemented females. This suggests that oxidative stress experienced during reproduction influences the allocation of antioxidants into the eggs. Moreover, we observed a positive relationship between eggshell pigment distribution and maternal and yolk antioxidant protection, suggesting that eggshell pigmentation is a cue of female (and offspring) quality.
    Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 03/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00265-015-1893-1 · 2.35 Impact Factor
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    • "Fat constitutes a third important macronutrient. While amino acids and carbohydrates can directly activate agingpathways such as mTOR and insulin/IGF-1, the role of specific proteins targeted by fatty acids and their potential role in aging is still unclear (Hou & Taubert, 2012; Hansen et al., 2013). However, mTOR and insulin/IGF-1 signaling play an important role in lipid metabolism during aging. "
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    ABSTRACT: Many diets and nutritional advice are circulating, often based on short- or medium-term clinical trials and primary outcomes, like changes in LDL cholesterol or weight. It remains difficult to assess which dietary interventions can be effective in the long term to reduce the risk of aging-related disease and increase the (healthy) lifespan. At the same time, the scientific discipline that studies the aging process has identified some important nutrient-sensing pathways that modulate the aging process, such as the mTOR and the insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling pathway. A thorough understanding of the aging process can help assessing the efficacy of dietary interventions aimed at reducing the risk of aging-related diseases. To come to these insights, a synthesis of biogerontological, nutritional, and medical knowledge is needed, which can be framed in a new discipline called 'nutrigerontology'. © 2014 The Authors. Aging Cell published by the Anatomical Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
    Aging cell 12/2014; 14(1). DOI:10.1111/acel.12284 · 6.34 Impact Factor
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