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To study whether dietary restriction (DR; 70% of ad lib. feeding)-elicited immunosuppression results from the trade-off between the costs of mounting an immune response and the metabolic costs of maintenance, we subjected mice from two divergent lines selected for high basal metabolic rate (H-BMR) and low BMR (L-BMR) to 4 wk of DR and then challenged them with keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) antigen. Those line types differ genetically with respect to BMR and to the mass of metabolically expensive internal organs, which are larger in H-BMR mice. In mice of both line types, DR resulted in a significant reduction of body mass, an immune response, and the downsizing of spleen, lymph nodes, thymus, heart, and kidneys but not small intestines. DR resulted in a greater reduction of the spleen and lymph nodes in mice of the H-BMR line type, whereas the thymus was more affected in L-BMR line type. In contrast, immunization resulted in an increase of liver mass in DR mice of both line types. A comparison of the results of current and earlier studies on the same mouse line types suggests that metabolic trade-offs involving the costs of an immune response are more apparent when animals are forced to increase energy demands (e.g., by cold exposure) compared to when energy demands are decreased through DR. Our findings also suggest that divelrgent selection on BMR resulted in between-line-type differences in T-cell- and B-cell-mediated types of an immune response. More generally, our results indicate that production of a wide repertoire of antibodies is not correlated with high BMR.


Aneta Książek, Marek Konarzewski. Effect of dietary restriction on immune response of laboratory mice divergently selected for basal metabolic rate. Physiological and biochemical zoology : PBZ. 2012 Jan-Feb;85(1):51-61

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PMID: 22237289

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