Dietary restriction and aging in rhesus monkeys: The University of Wisconsin study

Jon J Ramsey, R. J. Colman, N. C. Binkley, J. D. Christensen, T. A. Gresl, J. W. Kemnitz, R. Weindruch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Dietary restriction (DR) retards aging and extends the maximum lifespan of laboratory mice and rats. To determine whether DR has similar actions in a primate species, we initiated a study in 1989 to investigate the effects of a 30% DR in 30 adult male rhesus monkeys. In 1994, an additional 30 females and 16 males were added to the study. Although the animals are still middle-aged, a few differences have developed between the control and DR animals suggesting that DR may induce physiologic changes in the rhesus monkey similar to those observed in rodents. Fasting basal insulin and glucose concentrations are lower in DR compared to control animals while insulin sensitivity is higher in the restricted animals. DR has also altered circulating LDL in a manner that may inhibit atherogenesis. These results suggest that DR may be slowing some age-related physiologic changes. In addition to measures of glucose and lipid metabolism, the animals are evaluated annually for body composition, energy expenditure, physical activity, hematologic indices, and blood or urinary hormone concentrations. In the next few years, the first animals will reach the average lifespan (~26 years) of captive rhesus monkeys and it will become possible to determine if DR retards the aging process and extends the lifespan in a primate species. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1131-1149
Number of pages19
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Body composition
  • Bone
  • Calorie restriction
  • Energy expenditure
  • Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Physical activity
  • Triiodothyronine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Dietary restriction and aging in rhesus monkeys: The University of Wisconsin study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this