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expert reaction to study reporting mechanism behind possible benefits of dietary restriction in mice

A paper published in the journal Cell has proposed a mechanism for the beneficial effects of dietary restriction seen in yeast, worms, fruit flies and mice, suggesting that it may be applicable to higher organisms.


Prof. Matt Whiteman, Professor of Experimental Therapeutics, University of Exeter, said:

“The beneficial effects of calorific restriction on lifespan are well known but the precise molecular mechanisms for this, which at least in part involve stimulating and/or protecting mitochondria from oxidative stress, are not fully understood. It has been known for quite some time now that supplementing mitochondria, cells, animals, flies or worms with H2S, or giving them a means to generate H2S, protects them from a variety of insults such as oxidative stress and ischaemia-reperfusion injury, as well as prolonging life span in flies and worms. Conversely, removing the ability of cells to make H2S has the opposite effect. Given these well-known effects, I do not think the results are surprising. However, being able to stimulate cells to generate H2S by lowering calorific intake may represent an additional approach to treat diseases associated with obesity such as diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis without the use of drugs.”


Endogenous hydrogen sulfide production is essential for dietary restriction benefits’ by Hine et al. published in Cell on Tuesday 23rd December.


Declared interests

Prof Matt Whiteman: I have MRC (UK) and European Union funding to examine the therapeutic potential of novel hydrogen sulfide donors in diabetes. I have filed 5 patent applications for the therapeutic and agricultural use of mitochondria-targeted and non-targeted hydrogen sulfide donors.


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