Time-restricted feeding attenuates age-related cardiac decline in Drosophila

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Science  13 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6227, pp. 1265-1269
DOI: 10.1126/science.1256682

Midnight snacks are bad for the heart

Circadian clocks help animals coordinate their active and rest periods with the daily cycles of light and darkness. As anyone who has suffered jet lag or worked night shifts knows, losing this coordination can have deleterious effects. Gill et al. compared fruit flies that were allowed to eat at any time with flies that were only allowed to eat during the day (when they are active). The flies with restricted feeding times slept better and had a slower decline in heart function as they aged. They also showed less weight gain, even though both groups of flies consumed about the same amount.

Science, this issue p. 1265


Circadian clocks orchestrate periods of rest or activity and feeding or fasting over the course of a 24-hour day and maintain homeostasis. To assess whether a consolidated 24-hour cycle of feeding and fasting can sustain health, we explored the effect of time-restricted feeding (TRF; food access limited to daytime 12 hours every day) on neural, peripheral, and cardiovascular physiology in Drosophila melanogaster. We detected improved sleep, prevention of body weight gain, and deceleration of cardiac aging under TRF, even when caloric intake and activity were unchanged. We used temporal gene expression profiling and validation through classical genetics to identify the TCP-1 ring complex (TRiC) chaperonin, the mitochondrial electron transport chain complexes, and the circadian clock as pathways mediating the benefits of TRF.

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