Long-lived αMUPA transgenic mice exhibit pronounced circadian rhythms

Oren Froy*, Nava Chapnik, Ruth Miskin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Robust biological rhythms have been shown to affect life span. Biological clocks can be entrained by two feeding regimens, restricted feeding (RF) and caloric restriction (CR). RF restricts the time of food availability, whereas CR restricts the amount of calories with temporal food consumption. CR is known to retard aging and extend life span of animals via yet-unknown pathways. We hypothesize that resetting the biological clock could be one possible mechanism by which CR extends life span. Because it is experimentally difficult to uncouple calorie reduction from temporal food consumption, we took advantage of the murine urokinase-like plasminogen activator (αMUPA) transgenic mice overexpressing a serine protease implicated in brain development and plasticity; they exhibit spontaneously reduced eating and increased life span. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis revealed that αMUPA mice exhibit robust expression of the clock genes mPer1, mPer2, mClock, and mCry1 but not mBmal1 in the liver. We also found changes in the circadian amplitude and/or phase of clock-controlled output systems, such as feeding behavior, body temperature, and enteric cryptdin expression. A change in the light-dark regimen led to modified clock gene expression and abrogated circadian patterns of food intake in wild-type (WT) and αMUPA mice. Consequently, food consumption of WT mice increased, whereas that of αMUPA mice remained the same, indicating that reduced food intake occurs upstream and independently of the biological clock. Thus we surmise that CR could lead to pronounced and synchronized biological rhythms. Because the biological clock controls mitochondrial, hormonal, and physiological parameters, system synchronicity could lead to extended life span.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)E1017-E1024
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2006


  • Aging
  • Biological clock
  • Caloric restriction
  • Defensins
  • FVB/N
  • Food
  • Murine urokinase-like plasminogen activator


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