, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 1133-1143

First online:

Skeletal effects of long-term caloric restriction in rhesus monkeys

  • Ricki J. ColmanAffiliated withWisconsin National Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin Email author 
  • , T. Mark BeasleyAffiliated withDepartment of Biostatistics, University of Alabama
  • , David B. AllisonAffiliated withDepartment of Biostatistics, University of Alabama
  • , Richard WeindruchAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of WisconsinGeriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital

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Age-related bone loss is well established in humans and is known to occur in nonhuman primates. There is little information, however, on the effect of dietary interventions, such as caloric restriction (CR), on age-related bone loss. This study examined the effects of long-term, moderate CR on skeletal parameters in rhesus monkeys. Thirty adult male rhesus monkeys were subjected to either a restricted (R, n = 15) or control (C, n = 15) diet for 20 years and examined throughout for body composition and biochemical markers of bone turnover. Total body, spine, and radius bone mass and density were assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Assessment of biochemical markers of bone turnover included circulating serum levels of osteocalcin, carboxyterminal telopeptide of type I collagen, cross-linked aminoterminal telopeptide of type I collagen, parathyroid hormone, and 25(OH)vitamin D. Overall, we found that bone mass and density declined over time with generally higher levels in C compared to R animals. Circulating serum markers of bone turnover were not different between C and R with nonsignficant diet-by-time interactions. We believe the lower bone mass in R animals reflects the smaller body size and not pathological osteopenia.


Caloric restriction Bone Aging Osteoporosis Dietary restriction Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry