Caloric restriction (CR) delays the onset of many age-related pathophysiological changes and extends lifespan. White adipose tissue (WAT) is not only a major tissue for energy storage, but also an endocrine tissue that secretes various adipokines. Recent reports have demonstrated that alterations in the characteristics of WAT can impact whole-body metabolism and lifespan. Hence, we hypothesized that functional alterations in WAT may play important roles in the beneficial effects of CR. Previously, using microarray analysis of WAT from CR rats, we found that CR enhances fatty acid (FA) biosynthesis, and identified sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c (SREBP-1c), a master regulator of FA synthesis, as a mediator of CR. These findings were validated by showing that CR failed to upregulate factors involved in FA biosynthesis and to extend longevity in SREBP-1c knockout mice. Furthermore, we revealed that SREBP-1c is implicated in CR-associated mitochondrial activation through the upregulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α), a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis. Notably, these CR-associated phenotypes were observed only in WAT. We conclude that CR induces SREBP-1c-dependent metabolic remodeling, including the enhancement of FA biosynthesis and mitochondrial activation, via PGC-1α in WAT, resulting in beneficial effects.
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