Article

Sex Differences in the Effect of Dietary Restriction on Life Span and Mortality Rates in Female and Male Drosophila Melanogaster

Department of Biology, University College London, Darwin Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.
The Journals of Gerontology Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences (Impact Factor: 4.98). 02/2004; 59(1):3-9. DOI: 10.1093/gerona/59.1.B3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Dietary restriction (DR) has been shown to increase life span in taxonomically diverse animal species. In this study we tested for sex differences in the response of life span to graded severity of DR in Drosophila melanogaster. In both sexes, life span peaked at an intermediate food concentration and declined on either side. However, the magnitude of the response and the food concentration that minimized adult mortality differed significantly between the sexes. Female life span peaked at a food concentration 60% of the standard laboratory diet compared to a concentration of 40% for males. Moreover, female flies subject to DR lived up to 60% longer than did starved or fully fed females, whereas males subjected to DR lived only up to 30% longer. Analysis of age-specific mortality rates showed that DR extended life span by decreasing baseline mortality rates in both sexes, and to a greater extent in females. The differences in the response to DR in female and male Drosophila may be due to previously documented sex differences in sensitivity of life span to insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1 signalling or in nutrient/energy demand and allocation/utilization.

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    • "Although individuals of both sexes should respond to nutrient limitation in ways that maximize their lifetime fitness (Collins 1980), males and females have distinct nutritional requirements based on their divergent reproductive roles. To date, only a few studies have examined sex-specific responses to early food limitation (but see Karlsson et al. 1997; Clarebrough et al. 2000; Hunt et al. 2004; Gwynne 2004; Boggs and Freeman 2005; Magwere et al. 2004; Maklakov et al. 2008; Stillwell and Davidowitz 2010). Such sex-specific responses may be especially marked in organisms whose mating systems include nuptial gifts. "
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    • "The qualitative and quantitative composition of available food has a significant impact on life history traits (Tu & Tatar, 2003; Magwere et al., 2004; Rion & Kawecki, 2007; Lee et al., 2008), including the trade-off between reproduction and longevity. Under a high-quality diet, longevity is likely to be shortened due to the allocation of resources to reproductive activity (Jacob & Evans, 2000; Hunt et al., 2004), whereas under a poor diet, organisms switch to a physiological state geared towards survival at the expense of reproduction (Halliday, 1989; Boggs & Ross, 1993; Zera & Harshman, 2001; Kirkwood, 2002). "
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    • "The latter was the greatest prolongation of the adult phase in any treatment. Drosophila females also benefit more from dietary restriction (via DD) than males (Magwere et al. 2004; Bross et al. 2005). Males showed a 1.33-fold increase in adult duration on DR24, but a reduction on DR36 (83% of DRC). "
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