Aging is a biological process determined by multiple cellular mechanisms, such as genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intercellular communication, that ultimately concur in the functional decline of the individual. The evidence that the old population is steadily increasing and will triplicate in the next 50 years, together with the fact the elderlies are more prone to develop pathologies such as cancer, diabetes, and degenerative disorders, stimulates an important effort in finding specific countermeasures. Calorie restriction (CR) has been demonstrated to modulate nutrient sensing mechanisms, inducing a better metabolic profile, enhanced stress resistance, reduced oxidative stress, and improved inflammatory response. Therefore, CR and CR-mimetics have been suggested as powerful means to slow aging and extend healthy life-span in experimental models and humans. Taking into consideration the difficulties and ethical issues in performing aging research and testing anti-aging interventions in humans, researchers initially need to work with experimental models. The present review reports the major experimental models utilized in the study of CR and CR-mimetics, highlighting their application in the laboratory routine, and their translation to human research.
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