Methionine Restriction abstracts

Grandison, R. C., M. D. Piper, and L. Partridge (2009) Nature 462:1061-1064.

Amino-acid imbalance explains extension of lifespan by dietary restriction in Drosophila.

Dietary restriction extends healthy lifespan in diverse organisms and reduces fecundity. It is widely assumed to induce adaptive reallocation of nutrients from reproduction to somatic maintenance, aiding survival of food shortages in nature. If this were the case, long life under dietary restriction and high fecundity under full feeding would be mutually exclusive, through competition for the same limiting nutrients. Here we report a test of this idea in which we identified the nutrients producing the responses of lifespan and fecundity to dietary restriction in Drosophila. Adding essential amino acids to the dietary restriction condition increased fecundity and decreased lifespan, similar to the effects of full feeding, with other nutrients having little or no effect. However, methionine alone was necessary and sufficient to increase fecundity as much as did full feeding, but without reducing lifespan. Reallocation of nutrients therefore does not explain the responses to dietary restriction. Lifespan was decreased by the addition of amino acids, with an interaction between methionine and other essential amino acids having a key role. Hence, an imbalance in dietary amino acids away from the ratio optimal for reproduction shortens lifespan during full feeding and limits fecundity during dietary restriction. Reduced activity of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor signalling pathway extends lifespan in diverse organisms, and we find that it also protects against the shortening of lifespan with full feeding. In other organisms, including mammals, it may be possible to obtain the benefits to lifespan of dietary restriction without incurring a reduction in fecundity, through a suitable balance of nutrients in the diet.

Ayala, V., A. Naudi, A. Sanz, P. Caro, M. Portero-Otin, G. Barja, and R. Pamplona (2007) J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 62:352-360.

Dietary protein restriction decreases oxidative protein damage, peroxidizability index, and mitochondrial complex I content in rat liver.

Caloric restriction (CR) decreases oxidative damage, which contributes to the slowing of aging rate. It is not known if such decreases are due to calories themselves or specific dietary components. In this work, the ingestion of proteins of Wistar rats was decreased by 40% below that of controls. After 7 weeks, the liver of the protein-restricted (PR) animals showed decreases in oxidative protein damage, degree of membrane unsaturation, and mitochondrial complex I content. The results and previous information suggest that the decrease in the rate of aging induced by PR can be due in part to decreases in mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production and DNA and protein oxidative modification, increases in fatty acid components more resistant to oxidative damage, and decreased expression of complex I, analogously to what occurs during CR. Recent studies suggest that those benefits of PR could be caused, in turn, by the lowered methionine intake of that dietary manipulation.

Fardet, A. (2010) Nutr Res Rev 23:65-134.

New hypotheses for the health-protective mechanisms of whole-grain cereals: what is beyond fibre?

Epidemiological studies have clearly shown that whole-grain cereals can protect against obesity, diabetes, CVD and cancers. The specific effects of food structure (increased satiety, reduced transit time and glycaemic response), fibre (improved faecal bulking and satiety, viscosity and SCFA production, and/or reduced glycaemic response) and Mg (better glycaemic homeostasis through increased insulin secretion), together with the antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties of numerous bioactive compounds, especially those in the bran and germ (minerals, trace elements, vitamins, carotenoids, polyphenols and alkylresorcinols), are today well-recognised mechanisms in this protection. Recent findings, the exhaustive listing of bioactive compounds found in whole-grain wheat, their content in whole-grain, bran and germ fractions and their estimated bioavailability, have led to new hypotheses. The involvement of polyphenols in cell signalling and gene regulation, and of sulfur compounds, lignin and phytic acid should be considered in antioxidant protection. Whole-grain wheat is also a rich source of methyl donors and lipotropes (methionine, betaine, choline, inositol and folates) that may be involved in cardiovascular and/or hepatic protection, lipid metabolism and DNA methylation. Potential protective effects of bound phenolic acids within the colon, of the B-complex vitamins on the nervous system and mental health, of oligosaccharides as prebiotics, of compounds associated with skeleton health, and of other compounds such as alpha-linolenic acid, policosanol, melatonin, phytosterols and para-aminobenzoic acid also deserve to be studied in more depth. Finally, benefits of nutrigenomics to study complex physiological effects of the ‘whole-grain package’, and the most promising ways for improving the nutritional quality of cereal products are discussed.

Hasek, B. E., L. K. Stewart, T. M. Henagan, A. Boudreau, N. R. Lenard, C. Black, J. Shin, P. Huypens, V. L. Malloy, E. P. Plaisance, R. A. Krajcik, N. Orentreich, and T. W. Gettys (2010) Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 299:R728-R739.

Dietary methionine restriction enhances metabolic flexibility and increases uncoupled respiration in both fed and fasted states.

Dietary methionine restriction (MR) is a mimetic of chronic dietary restriction (DR) in the sense that MR increases rodent longevity, but without food restriction. We report here that MR also persistently increases total energy expenditure (EE) and limits fat deposition despite increasing weight-specific food consumption. In Fischer 344 (F344) rats consuming control or MR diets for 3, 9, and 20 mo, mean EE was 1.5-fold higher in MR vs. control rats, primarily due to higher EE during the night at all ages. The day-to-night transition produced a twofold higher heat increment of feeding (3.0 degrees C vs. 1.5 degrees C) in MR vs. controls and an exaggerated increase in respiratory quotient (RQ) to values greater than 1, indicative of the interconversion of glucose to lipid by de novo lipogenesis. The simultaneous inhibition of glucose utilization and shift to fat oxidation during the day was also more complete in MR (RQ approximately 0.75) vs. controls (RQ approximately 0.85). Dietary MR produced a rapid and persistent increase in uncoupling protein 1 expression in brown (BAT) and white adipose tissue (WAT) in conjunction with decreased leptin and increased adiponectin levels in serum, suggesting that remodeling of the metabolic and endocrine function of adipose tissue may have an important role in the overall increase in EE. We conclude that the hyperphagic response to dietary MR is matched to a coordinated increase in uncoupled respiration, suggesting the engagement of a nutrient-sensing mechanism, which compensates for limited methionine through integrated effects on energy homeostasis.

Malloy, V. L., R. A. Krajcik, S. J. Bailey, G. Hristopoulos, J. D. Plummer, and N. Orentreich (2006) Aging Cell 5:305-314.

Methionine restriction decreases visceral fat mass and preserves insulin action in aging male Fischer 344 rats independent of energy restriction.

Reduced dietary methionine intake (0.17% methionine, MR) and calorie restriction (CR) prolong lifespan in male Fischer 344 rats. Although the mechanisms are unclear, both regimens feature lower body weight and reductions in adiposity. Reduced fat deposition in CR is linked to preservation of insulin responsiveness in older animals. These studies examine the relationship between insulin responsiveness and visceral fat in MR and test whether, despite lower food intake observed in MR animals, decreased visceral fat accretion and preservation of insulin sensitivity is not secondary to CR. Accordingly, rats pair fed (pf) control diet (0.86% methinone, CF) to match the food intake of MR for 80 weeks exhibit insulin, glucose, and leptin levels similar to control-fed animals and comparable amounts of visceral fat. Conversely, MR rats show significantly reduced visceral fat compared to CF and PF with concomitant decreases in basal insulin, glucose, and leptin, and increased adiponectin and triiodothyronine. Daily energy expenditure in MR animals significantly exceeds that of both PF and CF. In a separate cohort, insulin responses of older MR animals as measured by oral glucose challenge are similar to young animals. Longitudinal assessments of MR and CF through 112 weeks of age reveal that MR prevents age-associated increases in serum lipids. By 16 weeks, MR animals show a 40% reduction in insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) that is sustained throughout life; CF IGF-1 levels decline much later, beginning at 112 weeks. Collectively, the results indicate that MR reduces visceral fat and preserves insulin activity in aging rats independent of energy restriction.

McCarty, M. F., J. Barroso-Aranda, and F. Contreras (2009) Med Hypotheses 72:125-128.

The low-methionine content of vegan diets may make methionine restriction feasible as a life extension strategy.

Recent studies confirm that dietary methionine restriction increases both mean and maximal lifespan in rats and mice, achieving “aging retardant” effects very similar to those of caloric restriction, including a suppression of mitochondrial superoxide generation. Although voluntary caloric restriction is never likely to gain much popularity as a pro-longevity strategy for humans, it may be more feasible to achieve moderate methionine restriction, in light of the fact that vegan diets tend to be relatively low in this amino acid. Plant proteins – especially those derived from legumes or nuts – tend to be lower in methionine than animal proteins. Furthermore, the total protein content of vegan diets, as a function of calorie content, tends to be lower than that of omnivore diets, and plant protein has somewhat lower bioavailability than animal protein. Whole-food vegan diets that moderate bean and soy intake, while including ample amounts of fruit and wine or beer, can be quite low in methionine, while supplying abundant nutrition for health (assuming concurrent B12 supplementation). Furthermore, low-fat vegan diets, coupled with exercise training, can be expected to promote longevity by decreasing systemic levels of insulin and free IGF-I; the latter effect would be amplified by methionine restriction – though it is not clear whether IGF-I down-regulation is the sole basis for the impact of low-methionine diets on longevity in rodents.

Cavuoto, P., and M. F. Fenech (2012) Cancer Treat Rev 38:726-736.

A review of methionine dependency and the role of methionine restriction in cancer growth control and life-span extension.

Methionine is an essential amino acid with many key roles in mammalian metabolism such as protein synthesis, methylation of DNA and polyamine synthesis. Restriction of methionine may be an important strategy in cancer growth control particularly in cancers that exhibit dependence on methionine for survival and proliferation. Methionine dependence in cancer may be due to one or a combination of deletions, polymorphisms or alterations in expression of genes in the methionine de novo and salvage pathways. Cancer cells with these defects are unable to regenerate methionine via these pathways. Defects in the metabolism of folate may also contribute to the methionine dependence phenotype in cancer. Selective killing of methionine dependent cancer cells in co-culture with normal cells has been demonstrated using culture media deficient in methionine. Several animal studies utilizing a methionine restricted diet have reported inhibition of cancer growth and extension of a healthy life-span. In humans, vegan diets, which can be low in methionine, may prove to be a useful nutritional strategy in cancer growth control. The development of methioninase which depletes circulating levels of methionine may be another useful strategy in limiting cancer growth. The application of nutritional methionine restriction and methioninase in combination with chemotherapeutic regimens is the current focus of clinical studies.

Epner, D. E., S. Morrow, M. Wilcox, and J. L. Houghton (2002) Nutr Cancer 42:158-166.

Nutrient intake and nutritional indexes in adults with metastatic cancer on a phase I clinical trial of dietary methionine restriction.

Animal studies have shown that dietary methionine restriction selectively inhibits growth of a variety of human tumor xenografts but has relatively few deleterious effects on normal tissues. The objectives of the present study were to determine whether enteral methionine restriction is safe and tolerable in adults with metastatic cancer and whether it reduces plasma methionine levels. Eight patients with a variety of metastatic solid tumors were enrolled in a phase I clinical trial. A commercially available methionine-free medical food served as the primary dietary protein source for all patients. Patients were prescribed diets containing 0.6-0.8 g of protein, 25-35 kcal, and 2 mg of methionine per kilogram per day. Participants remained on the experimental diet for an average of 17.3 wk (range 8-39 wk). Plasma methionine levels fell from 21.6 +/- 7.3 to 9 +/- 4 microM within 2 wk, representing a 58% decline. Serum albumin and prealbumin levels remained stable or increased. Mean energy intake increased during participation compared with baseline, and protein intake was maintained at target levels. The only side effect was weight loss of approximately 0.5% of body mass index (0.5 kg) per week. We conclude that enteral dietary methionine restriction is safe and tolerable in adults with metastatic solid tumors and results in significant reduction in plasma methionine levels.

Epner, D. E. (2001) J Am Coll Nutr 20:443S-449S; discussion 473S.

Can dietary methionine restriction increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy in treatment of advanced cancer?

Most metastatic tumors, such as those originating in the prostate, lung, and gastrointestinal tract, respond poorly to conventional chemotherapy. Novel treatment strategies for advanced cancer are therefore desperately needed. Dietary restriction of the essential amino acid methionine offers promise as such a strategy, either alone or in combination with chemotherapy or other treatments. Numerous in vitro and animal studies demonstrate the effectiveness of dietary methionine restriction in inhibiting growth and eventually causing death of cancer cells. In contrast, normal host tissues are relatively resistant to methionine restriction. These preclinical observations led to a phase I clinical trial of dietary methionine restriction for adults with advanced cancer. Preliminary findings from this trial indicate that dietary methionine restriction is safe and feasible for the treatment of patients with advanced cancer. In addition, the trial has yielded some preliminary evidence of antitumor activity. One patient with hormone-independent prostate cancer experienced a 25% reduction in serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) after 12 weeks on the diet, and a second patient with renal cell cancer experienced an objective radiographic response. The possibility that methionine restriction may act synergistically with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy is being explored. Findings to date support further investigation of dietary methionine restriction as a novel treatment strategy for advanced cancer.

Sanchez-Roman, I., and G. Barja (2013) Exp Gerontol

Regulation of longevity and oxidative stress by nutritional interventions: Role of methionine restriction.

Comparative studies indicate that long-lived mammals have low rates of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production (mtROSp) and oxidative damage in their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Dietary restriction (DR), around 40%, extends the mean and maximum life span of a wide range of species and lowers mtROSp and oxidative damage to mtDNA, which supports the mitochondrial free radical theory of aging (MFRTA). Regarding the dietary factor responsible for the life extension effect of DR, neither carbohydrate nor lipid restriction seems to modify maximum longevity. However protein restriction (PR) and methionine restriction (at least 80% MetR) increase maximum lifespan in rats and mice. Interestingly, only 7weeks of 40% PR (at least in liver) or 40% MetR (in all the studied organs, heart, brain, liver or kidney) is enough to decrease mtROSp and oxidative damage to mtDNA in rats, whereas neither carbohydrate nor lipid restriction changes these parameters. In addition, old rats also conserve the capacity to respond to 7weeks of 40% MetR with these beneficial changes. Most importantly, 40% MetR, differing from what happens during both 40% DR and 80% MetR, does not decrease growth rate and body size of rats. All the available studies suggest that the decrease in methionine ingestion that occurs during DR is responsible for part of the aging-delaying effect of this intervention likely through the decrease of mtROSp and ensuing DNA damage that it exerts. We conclude that lowering mtROS generation is a conserved mechanism, shared by long-lived species and dietary, protein, and methionine restricted animals, that decreases damage to macromolecules situated near the complex I mtROS generator, especially mtDNA. This would decrease the accumulation rate of somatic mutations in mtDNA and maybe finally also in nuclear DNA.

Perrone, C. E., V. L. Malloy, D. S. Orentreich, and N. Orentreich (2012) Exp Gerontol

Metabolic adaptations to methionine restriction that benefit health and lifespan in rodents.

Restriction of dietary methionine by 80% slows the progression of aged-related diseases and prolongs lifespan in rodents. A salient feature of the methionine restriction phenotype is the significant reduction of adipose tissue mass, which is associated with improvement of insulin sensitivity. These beneficial effects of MR involve a host of metabolic adaptations leading to increased mitochondrial biogenesis and function, elevated energy expenditure, changes of lipid and carbohydrate homeostasis, and decreased oxidative damage and inflammation. This review summarizes observations from MR studies and provides insight about potential mediators of tissue-specific responses associated with MR’s favorable metabolic effects that contribute to health and lifespan extension.

Zajitschek, F., S. R. Zajitschek, U. Friberg, and A. A. Maklakov (2012) Age (Dordr)

Interactive effects of sex, social environment, dietary restriction, and methionine on survival and reproduction in fruit flies.

For the evolution of life histories, the trade-off between survival and reproduction is fundamental. Because sexes optimize fitness in different ways, this trade-off is expected to be resolved differently by males and females. Consequently, the sexes are predicted to respond differently to changes in resource availability. In fruit flies, research on dietary restriction has focused largely on females maintained in the absence of males, thereby neglecting sexual interactions that affect reproductive behavior of both sexes under more natural conditions. Here, we tested for the interactive effects of diet (40, 60, 100, and 300 % of standard yeast concentrations) and social environment (separate-sex vs. mixed-sex groups) on male and female Drosophila melanogaster life histories. Additionally, we evaluated the essential amino acid methionine as an agent that can uncouple the survival-reproduction trade-off. We show sex differences in the effect of social environment on survival patterns, but not on reproductive fitness. In females, yeast had a positive effect on reproduction and a negative effect on survival. In males, yeast had a negative effect on reproduction and the effect on survival depended on the social environment. Methionine reduced survival, but had no effect on reproduction. Our findings highlight the need to include both sexes and to vary social environments in research programs aimed at lifespan extension and call for further evaluation of the fecundity-restoring effect of methionine.

Kalhan, S. C., and S. E. Marczewski (2012) Rev Endocr Metab Disord 13:109-119.

Methionine, homocysteine, one carbon metabolism and fetal growth.

Methionine and folate are the key components of one carbon metabolism, providing the methyl groups for numerous methyl transferase reactions via the ubiquitous methyl donor, s-adenosyl methionine. Methionine metabolism is responsive to nutrient intake, is regulated by several hormones and requires a number of vitamins (B12, pyridoxine, riboflavin) as co-factors. The critical relationship between perturbations in the mother’s methionine metabolism and its impact on fetal growth and development is now becoming evident. The relation of folate intake to fetal teratogenesis has been known for some time. Studies in human pregnancy show a continuous decrease in plasma homocysteine, and an increase in plasma choline concentrations with advancing gestation. A higher rate of transsulfuration of methionine in early gestation and of transmethylation in the 3rd trimester was seen in healthy pregnant women. How these processes are impacted by nutritional, hormonal and other influences in human pregnancy and their effect on fetal growth has not been examined. Isocaloric protein restriction in pregnant rats, resulted in fetal growth restriction and metabolic reprogramming. Isocaloric protein restriction in the non-pregnant rat, resulted in differential expression of a number of genes in the liver, a 50% increase in whole body serine biosynthesis and high rate of transmethylation, suggesting high methylation demands. These responses were associated with a significant decrease in intracellular taurine levels in the liver suggesting a role of cellular osmolarity in the observed metabolic responses. These unique changes in methionine and one carbon metabolism in response to physiological, nutritional and hormonal influences make these processes critical for cellular and organ function and growth.

Oz, H. S., T. S. Chen, and M. Neuman (2008) Dig Dis Sci 53:767-776.

Methionine deficiency and hepatic injury in a dietary steatohepatitis model.

Methionine (Meth) is an essential amino acid involved in DNA methylation and glutathione biosynthesis. We examined the effect of Meth on the development of steatohepatitis. Rats were fed (five weeks) amino acid-based Meth-choline-sufficient (A-MCS) or total deficient (MCD) diets and gavaged daily (two weeks) with vehicle (B-vehicle/MCD), or Meth replacement (C-Meth/MCD). To assess the effect of short-term deficiency, after three weeks one MCS group was fed a deficient diet (D-MCS/MCD). Animals fed the deficient diet for two weeks lost (29%) weight and after five weeks weighed one third as much as those on the sufficient diet, and also developed anemia (P < 0.01). Hepatic transaminases progressively increased from two to five weeks (P < 0.01), leading to severe hepatic pathology. Meth administration normalized hematocrit, improved weight (P < 0.05), and suppressed abnormal enzymes activities (P < 0.01). Meth administration improved blood and hepatic glutathione (GSH), S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), and hepatic lesions (P < 0.01). The deficient diet significantly upregulated proinflammatory and fibrotic genes, which was ameliorated by Meth administration. These data support a pivotal role for methionine in the pathogenesis of the dietary model of Meth-choline-deficient (MCD) steatohepatitis (NASH).

Spindler, S. R. (2010) Ageing Res Rev 9:324-353.

Caloric restriction: from soup to nuts.

Caloric restriction (CR), reduced protein, methionine, or tryptophan diets; and reduced insulin and/or IGFI intracellular signaling can extend mean and/or maximum lifespan and delay deleterious age-related physiological changes in animals. Mice and flies can shift readily between the control and CR physiological states, even at older ages. Many health benefits are induced by even brief periods of CR in flies, rodents, monkeys, and humans. In humans and nonhuman primates, CR produces most of the physiologic, hematologic, hormonal, and biochemical changes it produces in other animals. In primates, CR provides protection from type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular and cerebral vascular diseases, immunological decline, malignancy, hepatotoxicity, liver fibrosis and failure, sarcopenia, inflammation, and DNA damage. It also enhances muscle mitochondrial biogenesis, affords neuroprotection; and extends mean and maximum lifespan. CR rapidly induces antineoplastic effects in mice. Most claims of lifespan extension in rodents by drugs or nutrients are confounded by CR effects. Transcription factors and co-activators involved in the regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and energy metabolism, including SirT1, PGC-1alpha, AMPK and TOR may be involved in the lifespan effects of CR. Paradoxically, low body weight in middle aged and elderly humans is associated with increased mortality. Thus, enhancement of human longevity may require pharmaceutical interventions.

Takenaka, A., N. Oki, S. I. Takahashi, and T. Noguchi (2000) J Nutr 130:2910-2914.

Dietary restriction of single essential amino acids reduces plasma insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) but does not affect plasma IGF-binding protein-1 in rats.

The effects of dietary restriction of a single essential amino acid (EAA) on insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and IGF-binding protein (IGFBP)-1 were investigated in rats. Rats were fed experimental diets containing amino acid (AA) mixtures in which the concentrations of all EAA were at levels recommended by the National Research Council (control), in which a single EAA was restricted to 20% of that of the control diets (Leu(-), Lys(-), Met(-) or Thr(-)), or in which the diet was devoid of amino acids (AA(-)). To eliminate the effect of differences in energy intake, rats were fed the mean amount of food as consumed by the AA(-) group on the previous day. Growth was significantly retarded in rats fed diets restricted in just one EAA compared with that of rats fed the control diet, and further growth retardation was observed in rats fed the AA(-) diet. On the other hand, the plasma IGF-I concentrations in the groups with a single EAA restriction or in the AA(-) group were 66% (P: < 0. 05) and 50% (P: < 0.05) of that of the control group, respectively. The effect of any single EAA restriction was not significantly different from that of total AA deprivation. The plasma IGFBP-1 concentration in the control group did not differ from that of rats fed diets with the single EAA restrictions except for methionine restriction, but it was approximately 6-fold greater in the AA(-) group. Differences in plasma IGFBP-1 concentration under these conditions could be explained by differences in hepatic IGFBP-1 mRNA contents. Based on these results, we conclude that restriction of single EAA does not affect IGFBP-1 synthesis in vivo, although the deprivation of a single EAA has been reported to increase IGFBP-1 production in hepatocyte cultures. Our results also indicated that a single EAA restriction decreased IGF-I production but did not affect IGFBP-1 production. The present study suggests that not only plasma IGF-I, but also IGFBP-1, affects the magnitude of growth retardation in vivo.

Elshorbagy, A. K., M. Valdivia-Garcia, H. Refsum, A. D. Smith, D. A. Mattocks, and C. E. Perrone (2010) Nutrition 26:1201-1204.

Sulfur amino acids in methionine-restricted rats: hyperhomocysteinemia.

OBJECTIVE: Dietary methionine restriction in Fischer-344 rats favorably influences visceral fat mass, insulin sensitivity, metabolic parameters, and longevity. However, little is known about the effects of methionine restriction on serum methionine and its downstream sulfur amino acids. We investigated the serum sulfur amino acid profile of male Fischer-344 rats fed a methionine-restricted diet for 3 mo. METHODS AND RESULTS: Using tandem mass spectrometry, we observed marked reduction in serum concentrations of methionine, cystathionine, cysteine, and taurine in methionine-restricted rats compared with control (P<0.001) and a 2.5-fold elevation of homocysteine (P<0.001). CONCLUSION: This suggests that homocysteine trans-sulfuration may be inhibited by methionine restriction, and that some of the effects of methionine restriction may be mediated by changes in sulfur amino acids downstream of methionine.

Perrone, C. E., D. A. Mattocks, J. D. Plummer, S. V. Chittur, R. Mohney, K. Vignola, D. S. Orentreich, and N. Orentreich (2012) J Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics 5:132-157.

Genomic and metabolic responses to methionine-restricted and methionine-restricted, cysteine-supplemented diets in Fischer 344 rat inguinal adipose tissue, liver and quadriceps muscle.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Methionine restriction (MR) is a dietary intervention that increases lifespan, reduces adiposity and improves insulin sensitivity. These effects are reversed by supplementation of the MR diet with cysteine (MRC). Genomic and metabolomic studies were conducted to identify potential mechanisms by which MR induces favorable metabolic effects, and that are reversed by cysteine supplementation. METHODS: Gene expression was examined by microarray analysis and TaqMan quantitative PCR. Levels of selected proteins were measured by Western blot and metabolic intermediates were analyzed by mass spectrometry. RESULTS: MR increased lipid metabolism in inguinal adipose tissue and quadriceps muscle while it decreased lipid synthesis in liver. In inguinal adipose tissue, MR not only caused the transcriptional upregulation of genes associated with fatty acid synthesis but also of Lpin1, Pc, Pck1 and Pdk1, genes that are associated with glyceroneogenesis. MR also upregulated lipolysis-associated genes in inguinal fat and led to increased oxidation in this tissue, as suggested by higher levels of methionine sulfoxide and 13-HODE + 9-HODE compared to control-fed (CF) rats. Moreover, MR caused a trend toward the downregulation of inflammation-associated genes in inguinal adipose tissue. MRC reversed most gene and metabolite changes induced by MR in inguinal adipose tissue, but drove the expression of Elovl6, Lpin1, Pc, and Pdk1 below CF levels. In liver, MR decreased levels of a number of long-chain fatty acids, glycerol and glycerol-3-phosphate corresponding with the gene expression data. Although MR increased the expression of genes associated with carbohydrate metabolism, levels of glycolytic intermediates were below CF levels. MR, however, stimulated gluconeogenesis and ketogenesis in liver tissue. As previously reported, sulfur amino acids derived from methionine were decreased in liver by MR, but homocysteine levels were elevated. Increased liver homocysteine levels by MR were associated with decreased cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) protein levels and lowered vitamin B6 and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5MeTHF) content. Finally, MR upregulated fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) gene and protein levels in both liver and adipose tissues. MRC reversed some of MR’s effects in liver and upregulated the transcription of genes associated with inflammation and carcinogenesis such as Cxcl16, Cdh17, Mmp12, Mybl1, and Cav1 among others. In quadriceps muscle, MR upregulated lipid metabolism-associated genes and increased 3-hydroxybutyrate levels suggesting increased fatty acid oxidation as well as stimulation of gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis in this tissue. CONCLUSION: Increased lipid metabolism in inguinal adipose tissue and quadriceps muscle, decreased triglyceride synthesis in liver and the downregulation of inflammation-associated genes are among the factors that could favor the lean phenotype and increased insulin sensitivity observed in MR rats.

Elshorbagy, A. K., M. Valdivia-Garcia, D. A. Mattocks, J. D. Plummer, D. S. Orentreich, N. Orentreich, H. Refsum, and C. E. Perrone (2013) Metabolism 62:509-517.

Effect of taurine and N-acetylcysteine on methionine restriction-mediated adiposity resistance.

OBJECTIVES: Methionine-restricted (MR) rats, which are lean and insulin sensitive, have low serum total cysteine (tCys) and taurine and decreased hepatic expression and activity indices of stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase-1 (SCD1). These effects are partly or completely reversed by cysteine supplementation. We investigated whether reversal of MR phenotypes can be achieved by other sulfur compounds, namely taurine or N-acetylcysteine (NAC). METHODS: MR and control-fed (CF) rats were supplemented with taurine (0.5%) or NAC (0.5%) for 12weeks. Adiposity, serum sulfur amino acids (SAA), Scd1 gene expression in liver and white adipose tissue, and SCD1 activity indices (calculated from serum fatty acid profile) were monitored. RESULTS: Taurine supplementation of MR rats did not restore weight gain or hepatic Scd1 expression or indices to CF levels, but further decreased adiposity. Taurine supplementation of CF rats did not affect adiposity, but lowered triglyceridemia. NAC supplementation in MR rats raised tCys and partly or completely reversed MR effects on weight, fat %, Scd1 expression in liver and white adipose tissue, and estimated SCD1 activity. In CF rats, NAC decreased body fat % and lowered SCD1-18 activity index (P<0.001). Serum triglycerides and leptin were over 40% lower in CF+NAC relative to CF rats (P</=0.003 for both). In all groups, change in tCys correlated with change in SCD1-16 index (partial r=0.60, P<0.001) independent of other SAA. CONCLUSION: The results rule out taurine as a mediator of increased adiposity produced by cysteine in MR, and show that NAC, similar to L-cysteine, blocks anti-obesity effects of MR. Our data show that dietary SAA can influence adiposity in part through mechanisms that converge on SCD1 function. This may have implications for understanding and preventing human obesity.

Ables, G. P., C. E. Perrone, D. Orentreich, and N. Orentreich (2012) PLoS One 7:e51357.

Methionine-restricted C57BL/6J mice are resistant to diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance but have low bone density.

Dietary methionine restriction (MR) extends lifespan, an effect associated with reduction of body weight gain, and improvement of insulin sensitivity in mice and rats as a result of metabolic adaptations in liver, adipose tissue and skeletal muscle. To test whether MR confers resistance to adiposity and insulin resistance, C57BL/6J mice were fed a high fat diet (HFD) containing either 0.86% methionine (control fed; CF) or 0.12% methionine (methionine-restricted; MR). MR mice on HFD had lower body weight gain despite increased food intake and absorption efficiency compared to their CF counterparts. MR mice on HFD were more glucose tolerant and insulin sensitive with reduced accumulation of hepatic triglycerides. In plasma, MR mice on HFD had higher levels of adiponectin and FGF21 while leptin and IGF-1 levels were reduced. Hepatic gene expression showed the downregulation of Scd1 while Pparg, Atgl, Cd36, Jak2 and Fgf21 were upregulated in MR mice on HFD. Restriction of growth rate in MR mice on HFD was also associated with lower bone mass and increased plasma levels of the collagen degradation marker C-terminal telopeptide of type 1 collagen (CTX-1). It is concluded that MR mice on HFD are metabolically healthy compared to CF mice on HFD but have decreased bone mass. These effects could be associated with the observed increase in FGF21 levels.

Miller, R. A., G. Buehner, Y. Chang, J. M. Harper, R. Sigler, and M. Smith-Wheelock (2005) Aging Cell 4:119-125.

Methionine-deficient diet extends mouse lifespan, slows immune and lens aging, alters glucose, T4, IGF-I and insulin levels, and increases hepatocyte MIF levels and stress resistance.

A diet deficient in the amino acid methionine has previously been shown to extend lifespan in several stocks of inbred rats. We report here that a methionine-deficient (Meth-R) diet also increases maximal lifespan in (BALB/cJ x C57BL/6 J)F1 mice. Compared with controls, Meth-R mice have significantly lower levels of serum IGF-I, insulin, glucose and thyroid hormone. Meth-R mice also have higher levels of liver mRNA for MIF (macrophage migration inhibition factor), known to be higher in several other mouse models of extended longevity. Meth-R mice are significantly slower to develop lens turbidity and to show age-related changes in T-cell subsets. They are also dramatically more resistant to oxidative liver cell injury induced by injection of toxic doses of acetaminophen. The spectrum of terminal illnesses in the Meth-R group is similar to that seen in control mice. Studies of the cellular and molecular biology of methionine-deprived mice may, in parallel to studies of calorie-restricted mice, provide insights into the way in which nutritional factors modulate longevity and late-life illnesses.

Hipkiss, A. R. (2008) Rejuvenation Res 11:685-688.

On methionine restriction, suppression of mitochondrial dysfunction and aging.

Rats and mice, when subjected to methionine restriction (MetR), may live longer with beneficial changes to their mitochondria. Most explanations of these observations have centered on MetR somehow suppressing the effects of oxygen free radicals. It is suggested here that MetR’s effects on protein metabolism should also be considered when attempting to explain its apparent anti-aging actions. Methionine is the initiating amino acid in mRNA translation. It is proposed that MetR decreases the protein biosynthesis rate due to methionine limitation, which correspondingly decreases generation of ribosomal-mediated error proteins, which then lowers the total abnormal protein load that cellular proteases and chaperone proteins (mitochondrial and cytoplasmic) must deal with. This will increase protease availability for elimination of proteins damaged postsynthetically and help delay abnormal protein accumulation, the major molecular symptom of aging. The slowed rate of protein synthesis may also alter protein folding, which could also alter polypeptide susceptibility to oxidative attack. MetR will also increase lysosomal proteolysis, including autophagy of dysfunctional mitochondria, and promote mitogenesis. MetR may decrease synthesis of S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM), which could decrease spontaneous O(6)-methylguanine formation in DNA. However decreased SAM may compromise repair of protein isoaspartate residues by protein-isoaspartate methyltransferase (PIMT). Changes in SAM levels may also affect gene silencing. All the above may help explain, at least in part, the beneficial effects of MetR.

Brunaud, L., J. M. Alberto, A. Ayav, P. Gerard, F. Namour, L. Antunes, M. Braun, J. P. Bronowicki, L. Bresler, and J. L. Gueant (2003) Digestion 68:133-140.

Vitamin B12 is a strong determinant of low methionine synthase activity and DNA hypomethylation in gastrectomized rats.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: The respective influence of folate and vitamin B12 deficiency on MTR activity and transcription, and on DNA methylation is not clearly established. The aim of this study was to assess the respective influence of folate and vitamin B12 deficiency on MTR transcription and activity, and on DNA methylation. METHODS: Sixty-one rats were administered normal diet or diet deficient in choline, methionine, folic acid and vitamin B12. Forty-seven of them underwent total gastrectomy or ileal resection. RESULTS: Low vitamin B12 was observed only in gastrectomized rats. Low folate was observed in rats under deficient diet. Total MTR activity (holo- + apoenzyme) was lowered only with vitamin B12 level <200 pmol/l (p=0.0002), while the ratios of total vs. holo-MTR activity and of transcripts MTR vs. GAPDH (RT-PCR) were unchanged. Vitamin B12 was the single determinant of low MTR (lower quartile, odds ratio=15.75, p=0.0017). Low MTR and low vitamin B12 were the two determinants of DNA hypomethylation (lower quartile) (odds ratio=17.07, p=0.0006, and odds ratio=7.31, p=0.006, respectively). CONCLUSION: Vitamin B12 affects MTR expression by a non-transcriptional mechanism different from a protective effect on MTR proteolysis. It is also a strong determinant of DNA hypomethylation.

Tang, B., A. Mustafa, S. Gupta, S. Melnyk, S. J. James, and W. D. Kruger (2010) Nutrition 26:1170-1175.

Methionine-deficient diet induces post-transcriptional downregulation of cystathionine beta-synthase.

OBJECTIVE: Elevated plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) is a risk factor for a variety of human diseases. Homocysteine is formed from methionine and has two primary metabolic fates: remethylation to form methionine or commitment to the transsulfuration pathway by the action of cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS). We have examined the metabolic response in mice of a shift from a methionine-replete to a methionine-free diet. METHODS AND RESULTS: We found that shifting 3-mo-old C57BL6 mice to a methionine-free diet caused a transient increase in tHcy and an increase in the tHcy/methionine ratio. Because CBS is a key regulator of tHcy, we examined CBS protein levels and found that within 3 d on the methionine-deficient diet, animals had a 50% reduction in the levels of liver CBS protein and enzyme activity. Examination of CBS mRNA and studies of transgenic animals that express CBS from a heterologous promoter indicated that this reduction is occurring post-transcriptionally. Loss of CBS protein was unrelated to intracellular levels of S-adenosylmethionine, a known regulator of CBS activity and stability. CONCLUSION: Our results imply that methionine deprivation induces a metabolic state in which methionine is effectively conserved in tissue by shutdown of the transsulfuration pathway by an S-adenosylmethionine-independent mechanism that signals a rapid downregulation of CBS protein.

Cabreiro, F., C. Au, K. Y. Leung, N. Vergara-Irigaray, H. M. Cocheme, T. Noori, D. Weinkove, E. Schuster, N. D. Greene, and D. Gems (2013) Cell 153:228-239.

Metformin retards aging in C. elegans by altering microbial folate and methionine metabolism.

The biguanide drug metformin is widely prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, but its mode of action remains uncertain. Metformin also increases lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans cocultured with Escherichia coli. This bacterium exerts complex nutritional and pathogenic effects on its nematode predator/host that impact health and aging. We report that metformin increases lifespan by altering microbial folate and methionine metabolism. Alterations in metformin-induced longevity by mutation of worm methionine synthase (metr-1) and S-adenosylmethionine synthase (sams-1) imply metformin-induced methionine restriction in the host, consistent with action of this drug as a dietary restriction mimetic. Metformin increases or decreases worm lifespan, depending on E. coli strain metformin sensitivity and glucose concentration. In mammals, the intestinal microbiome influences host metabolism, including development of metabolic disease. Thus, metformin-induced alteration of microbial metabolism could contribute to therapeutic efficacy-and also to its side effects, which include folate deficiency and gastrointestinal upset.

Storelli, G., M. Tefit, and F. Leulier (2013) Cell Metab 17:809-811.

Metformin, microbes, and aging.

The mechanisms underlying the biological activity of metformin, a widely prescribed drug to treat type 2 diabetes, remain elusive. In a recent issue of Cell, Cabreiro et al. report that in C. elegans, metformin indirectly impacts lifespan by altering the methionine metabolism of its microbial partner E. coli (Cabreiro et al., 2013).

Hoshi, T., and S. H. Heinemann (2001) J Physiol 531:1-11.

Topical Review: Regulation of cell function by methionine oxidation and reduction

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are generated during normal cellular activity and may exist in excess in some pathophysiological conditions, such as inflammation or reperfusion injury. These molecules oxidize a variety of cellular constituents, but sulfur-containing amino acid residues are especially susceptible. While reversible cysteine oxidation and reduction is part of well-established signalling systems, the oxidation and the enzymatically catalysed reduction of methionine is just emerging as a novel molecular mechanism for cellular regulation. Here we discuss how the oxidation of methionine to methionine sulfoxide in signalling proteins such as ion channels affects the function of these target proteins. Methionine sulfoxide reductase, which reduces methionine sulfoxide to methionine in a thioredoxin-dependent manner, is therefore not only an enzyme important for the repair of age- or degenerative disease-related protein modifications. It is also a potential missing link in the post-translational modification cycle involved in the specific oxidation and reduction of methionine residues in cellular signalling proteins, which may give rise to activity-dependent plastic changes in cellular excitability.

Grimble, R. F. (2006) J Nutr 136:1660S-1665S.

The effects of sulfur amino acid intake on immune function in humans.

No direct data exist on the influence of supranormal intakes of sulfur amino acids on immune function in humans. However 3 major products of sulfur amino acids, glutathione (GSH), homocysteine (Hcy), and taurine (Tau), influence, mainly, inflammatory aspects of the immune response in vitro and in vivo. Methionine intakes above approximately 1 g/d transiently raise plasma Tau, Hcy, and GSH. Tau and GSH ameliorate inflammation. Hcy has the opposite effect. A biphasic relation, between cellular GSH and CD4+ and CD8+ numbers occurs in healthy men. How changes in sulfur amino acid intake influence this phenomenon is unknown. In animals, high Tau intakes are antiinflammatory. How immune function in humans is affected is unknown. A positive relation between plasma neopterin (a marker of a Th-1-type immune response) and Hcy indicates that Hcy may play a part in inflammatory aspects of Parkinson’s disease and aging. In vitro, Hcy, at concentrations seen following consumption of approximately 6 g L-methionine/d in adults, increases the interactions among T lymphocytes, monocytes, and endothelium. Whether a similar phenomenon occurs in vivo is unknown. Polymorphisms in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene are associated with raised plasma Hcy in young but not old subjects. The relation of this observation to immune function is unknown. The relationships among Hcy, inflammatory aspects of disease, and in vitro alterations in immune cell behavior create a cautionary note about supplementation of diets with l-methionine to raise intake above approximately 1 g/d. Studies directly linking methionine intake, genetics, plasma Hcy, Tau, and GSH and immune function are needed.

Waly, M., H. Olteanu, R. Banerjee, S. W. Choi, J. B. Mason, B. S. Parker, S. Sukumar, S. Shim, A. Sharma, J. M. Benzecry, V. A. Power-Charnitsky, and R. C. Deth (2004) Mol Psychiatry 9:358-370.

Activation of methionine synthase by insulin-like growth factor-1 and dopamine: a target for neurodevelopmental toxins and thimerosal.

Methylation events play a critical role in the ability of growth factors to promote normal development. Neurodevelopmental toxins, such as ethanol and heavy metals, interrupt growth factor signaling, raising the possibility that they might exert adverse effects on methylation. We found that insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)- and dopamine-stimulated methionine synthase (MS) activity and folate-dependent methylation of phospholipids in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells, via a PI3-kinase- and MAP-kinase-dependent mechanism. The stimulation of this pathway increased DNA methylation, while its inhibition increased methylation-sensitive gene expression. Ethanol potently interfered with IGF-1 activation of MS and blocked its effect on DNA methylation, whereas it did not inhibit the effects of dopamine. Metal ions potently affected IGF-1 and dopamine-stimulated MS activity, as well as folate-dependent phospholipid methylation: Cu(2+) promoted enzyme activity and methylation, while Cu(+), Pb(2+), Hg(2+) and Al(3+) were inhibitory. The ethylmercury-containing preservative thimerosal inhibited both IGF-1- and dopamine-stimulated methylation with an IC(50) of 1 nM and eliminated MS activity. Our findings outline a novel growth factor signaling pathway that regulates MS activity and thereby modulates methylation reactions, including DNA methylation. The potent inhibition of this pathway by ethanol, lead, mercury, aluminum and thimerosal suggests that it may be an important target of neurodevelopmental toxins.

Booher, K., D. W. Lin, S. L. Borrego, and P. Kaiser (2012) Cell Cycle 11:4414-4423.

Downregulation of Cdc6 and pre-replication complexes in response to methionine stress in breast cancer cells.

Methionine and homocysteine are metabolites in the transmethylation pathway leading to synthesis of the methyl-donor S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). Most cancer cells stop proliferating during methionine stress conditions, when methionine is replaced in the growth media by its immediate metabolic precursor homocysteine (Met-Hcy+). Non-transformed cells proliferate in Met-Hcy+ media, making the methionine metabolic requirement of cancer cells an attractive target for therapy, yet there is relatively little known about the molecular mechanisms governing the methionine stress response in cancer cells. To study this phenomenon in breast cancer cells, we selected methionine-independent-resistant cell lines derived from MDAMB468 breast cancer cells. Resistant cells grew normally in Met-Hcy+ media, whereas their parental MDAMB468 cells rapidly arrest in the G 1 phase. Remarkably, supplementing Met-Hcy+ growth media with S-adenosylmethionine suppressed the cell proliferation defects, indicating that methionine stress is a consequence of SAM limitation rather than low amino acid concentrations. Accordingly, mTORC1 activity, the primary effector responding to amino acid limitation, remained high. However, we found that levels of the replication factor Cdc6 decreased and pre-replication complexes were destabilized in methionine-stressed MDAMB468 but not resistant cells. Our study characterizes metabolite requirements and cell cycle responses that occur during methionine stress in breast cancer cells and helps explain the metabolic uniqueness of cancer cells.

Wijsman, C. A., D. van Heemst, M. P. Rozing, P. E. Slagboom, M. Beekman, A. J. de Craen, A. B. Maier, R. G. Westendorp, H. J. Blom, and S. P. Mooijaart (2011) PLoS One 6:e17543.

Homocysteine and familial longevity: the Leiden Longevity Study.

Homocysteine concentrations are a read-out of methionine metabolism and have been related to changes in lifespan in animal models. In humans, high homocysteine concentrations are an important predictor of age related disease. We aimed to explore the association of homocysteine with familial longevity by testing whether homocysteine is lower in individuals that are genetically enriched for longevity. We measured concentrations of total homocysteine in 1907 subjects from the Leiden Longevity Study consisting of 1309 offspring of nonagenarian siblings, who are enriched with familial factors promoting longevity, and 598 partners thereof as population controls. We found that homocysteine was related to age, creatinine, folate, vitamin B levels and medical history of hypertension and stroke in both groups (all p<0.001). However, levels of homocysteine did not differ between offspring enriched for longevity and their partners, and no differences in the age-related rise in homocysteine levels were found between groups (p for interaction 0.63). The results suggest that homocysteine metabolism is not likely to predict familial longevity.

Malaguarnera, M., G. Pistone, M. Motta, E. Vinci, G. Oreste, G. Avellone, and S. Musumeci (2004) Clin Chem Lab Med 42:307-310.

Elevated plasma total homocysteine in centenarians.

Homocysteine (Hcy) is a sulfur-containing metabolite of methionine and is an emerging independent risk factor for atherosclerosis. Previous studies have shown that age, gender, renal function and folic acid intake are the main factors influencing total plasma Hcy levels in humans. A unique approach to the science of human longevity is the natural model of centenarians. The objective of this study was to verify whether the previously determined risk factors for atherosclerosis and atherosclerosis-related diseases change with age and, finally, to establish the vitamin nutritional status role. We studied 54 centenarians (14 males and 40 females) aged between 100-107 years (mean age 102.6+/-1.8 years) living in Sicily (Italy), recruited via the Registry Office, and compared them with three control groups composed of subjects with different age ranges. Total plasma Hcy, folate, vitamin B12 and pyridoxal phosphate (PLP) levels were compared between the groups by the Student’s t test. The comparison between centenarians and <65-year old, randomly selected individuals showed that in centenarians the mean value of serum creatinine levels was 18 micromol/l (p=0.000) higher, the mean total Hcy value was 22 micromol/l higher (p=0.000), the mean PLP value was 17.9 nmol/l lower (p=0.000), the mean folate level was 2.1 nmol/l lower (p<0.001) and vitamin B12 was 70.5 pmol/l lower (p=0.000). The comparison between centenarians and >65-year old, randomly selected individuals showed that in centenarians the mean value of serum creatinine levels was 8 micromol/l higher (p=0.037), the mean total Hcy value was 11.6 micromol/l higher (p=0.000) and the mean PLP value was 4.2 nmol/l higher (p=0.000). It seems that centenarians are protected by some mechanism (maybe genetic) that allows them a long survival despite the high value of homocysteinemia. On the other hand, it can by hypothesized that good vitamin intake is essential to live over 100 years.

Guo, H., V. K. Lishko, H. Herrera, A. Groce, T. Kubota, and R. M. Hoffman (1993) Cancer Res 53:5676-5679.

Therapeutic tumor-specific cell cycle block induced by methionine starvation in vivo.

The ability to induce a specific cell cycle block selectively in the tumor could have many uses in chemotherapy. In the present study we have achieved this goal of inducing a tumor-specific cell cycle block in vivo by depriving Yoshida sarcoma-bearing nude mice of dietary methionine. Further, we demonstrate that methionine depletion also causes the tumor to eventually regress. The antitumor effect of methionine depletion resulted in the extended survival of the tumor-bearing mice. The mice on the methionine-deprived diets maintained their body weight for the time period studied, indicating that tumor regression was not a function of body weight loss. The data reported here support future experiments utilizing methionine depletion as a target for tumor-selective cell cycle-dependent therapy.

Plaisance, E. P., T. M. Henagan, H. Echlin, A. Boudreau, K. L. Hill, N. R. Lenard, B. E. Hasek, N. Orentreich, and T. W. Gettys (2010) Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 299:R740-R750.

Role of beta-adrenergic receptors in the hyperphagic and hypermetabolic responses to dietary methionine restriction.

Dietary methionine restriction (MR) limits fat deposition and decreases plasma leptin, while increasing food consumption, total energy expenditure (EE), plasma adiponectin, and expression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) in brown and white adipose tissue (BAT and WAT). beta-adrenergic receptors (beta-AR) serve as conduits for sympathetic input to adipose tissue, but their role in mediating the effects of MR on energy homeostasis is unclear. Energy intake, weight, and adiposity were modestly higher in beta(3)-AR(-/-) mice on the Control diet compared with wild-type (WT) mice, but the hyperphagic response to the MR diet and the reduction in fat deposition did not differ between the genotypes. The absence of beta(3)-ARs also did not diminish the ability of MR to increase total EE and plasma adiponectin or decrease leptin mRNA, but it did block the MR-dependent increase in UCP1 mRNA in BAT but not WAT. In a further study, propranolol was used to antagonize remaining beta-adrenergic input (beta(1)- and beta(2)-ARs) in beta(3)-AR(-/-) mice, and this treatment blocked >50% of the MR-induced increase in total EE and UCP1 induction in both BAT and WAT. We conclude that signaling through beta-adrenergic receptors is a component of the mechanism used by dietary MR to increase EE, and that beta(1)- and beta(2)-ARs are able to substitute for beta(3)-ARs in mediating the effect of dietary MR on EE. These findings are consistent with the involvement of both UCP1-dependent and -independent mechanisms in the physiological responses affecting energy balance that are produced by dietary MR.

Orentreich, N., J. R. Matias, A. DeFelice, and J. A. Zimmerman (1993) J Nutr 123:269-274.

Low methionine ingestion by rats extends life span.

Dietary energy restriction has been a widely used means of experimentally extending mammalian life span. We report here that lifelong reduction in the concentration of a single dietary component, the essential amino acid L-methionine, from 0.86 to 0.17% of the diet results in a 30% longer life span of male Fischer 344 rats. Methionine restriction completely abolished growth, although food intake was actually greater on a body weight basis. Studies of energy consumption in early life indicated that the energy intake of 0.17% methionine-fed animals was near normal for animals of their size, although consumption per animal was below that of the much larger 0.86% methionine-fed rats. Increasing the energy intake of rats fed 0.17% methionine failed to increase their rate of growth, whereas restricting 0.85% methionine-fed rats to the food intake of 0.17% methionine-fed animals did not materially reduce growth, indicating that food restriction was not a factor in life span extension in these experiments. The biochemically well-defined pathways of methionine metabolism and utilization offer the potential for uncovering the precise mechanism(s) underlying this specific dietary restriction-related extension of life span.

Sun, L., A. A. Sadighi Akha, R. A. Miller, and J. M. Harper (2009) J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 64:711-722.

Life-span extension in mice by preweaning food restriction and by methionine restriction in middle age.

Life span can be extended in rodents by restricting food availability (caloric restriction [CR]) or by providing food low in methionine (Meth-R). Here, we show that a period of food restriction limited to the first 20 days of life, via a 50% enlargement of litter size, shows extended median and maximal life span relative to mice from normal sized litters and that a Meth-R diet initiated at 12 months of age also significantly increases longevity. Furthermore, mice exposed to a CR diet show changes in liver messenger RNA patterns, in phosphorylation of Erk, Jnk2, and p38 kinases, and in phosphorylation of mammalian target of rapamycin and its substrate 4EBP1, HE-binding protein 1 that are not observed in liver from age-matched Meth-R mice. These results introduce new protocols that can increase maximal life span and suggest that the spectrum of metabolic changes induced by low-calorie and low-methionine diets may differ in instructive ways.

Zimmerman, J. A., V. Malloy, R. Krajcik, and N. Orentreich (2003) Exp Gerontol 38:47-52.

Nutritional control of aging.

For more than 60 years the only dietary manipulation known to retard aging was caloric restriction, in which a variety of species respond to a reduction in energy intake by demonstrating extended median and maximum life span. More recently, two alternative dietary manipulations have been reported to also extend survival in rodents. Reducing the tryptophan content of the diet extends maximum life span, while lowering the content of sulfhydryl-containing amino acids in the diet by removing cysteine and restricting the concentration of methionine has been shown to extend all parameters of survival, and to maintain blood levels of the important anti-oxidant glutathione. To control for the possible reduction in energy intake in methionine-restricted rats, animals were offered the control diet in the quantity consumed by rats fed the low methionine diet. Such pair-fed animals experienced life span extension, indicating that methionine restriction-related life span extension is not a consequence of reduced energy intake. By feeding the methionine restricted diet to a variety of rat strains we determined that lowered methionine in the diet prolonged life in strains that have differing pathological profiles in aging, indicating that this intervention acts by altering the rate of aging, not by correcting some single defect in a single strain.

Pamplona, R., and G. Barja (2006) Biochim Biophys Acta 1757:496-508.

Mitochondrial oxidative stress, aging and caloric restriction: the protein and methionine connection.

Caloric restriction (CR) decreases aging rate and mitochondrial ROS (MitROS) production and oxidative stress in rat postmitotic tissues. Low levels of these parameters are also typical traits of long-lived mammals and birds. However, it is not known what dietary components are responsible for these changes during CR. It was recently observed that 40% protein restriction without strong CR also decreases MitROS generation and oxidative stress. This is interesting because protein restriction also increases maximum longevity (although to a lower extent than CR) and is a much more practicable intervention for humans than CR. Moreover, it was recently found that 80% methionine restriction substituting it for l-glutamate in the diet also decreases MitROS generation in rat liver. Thus, methionine restriction seems to be responsible for the decrease in ROS production observed in caloric restriction. This is interesting because it is known that exactly that procedure of methionine restriction also increases maximum longevity. Moreover, recent data show that methionine levels in tissue proteins negatively correlate with maximum longevity in mammals and birds. All these suggest that lowering of methionine levels is involved in the control of mitochondrial oxidative stress and vertebrate longevity by at least two different mechanisms: decreasing the sensitivity of proteins to oxidative damage, and lowering of the rate of ROS generation at mitochondria.

Richie, J. P. J., D. Komninou, Y. Leutzinger, W. Kleinman, N. Orentreich, V. Malloy, and J. A. Zimmerman (2004) Nutrition 20:800-805.

Tissue glutathione and cysteine levels in methionine-restricted rats.

OBJECTIVE: Previously, we demonstrated that lifelong methionine (Met) restriction (MR) increases lifespan, decreases the incidence of aging-related diseases, increases blood glutathione (GSH) levels, and prevents loss of GSH during aging in rats. Our present objective was to elucidate the effects of MR on GSH metabolism and transport by determining the time course and nature of GSH and cysteine changes in blood and other tissues in young and mature rats. METHODS: Male F-344 rats were placed on control (0.86% Met) or MR (0.17% Met) defined amino acid diets at age 7 wk and killed at different times thereafter. MR was also initiated in adult (12-mo-old) rats. RESULTS: Throughout the first 2 mo of MR, blood GSH levels increased 84% and liver GSH decreased 66% in relation to controls. After this period, liver GSH levels remained constant through at least 6 mo. GSH levels also decreased in the pancreas (80%) and kidney (22%) but remained unchanged in other tissues examined after 11 wk of MR. The increase in blood GSH was evident as soon as 1 wk after initiating MR and reached a plateau by 6 wk. A similar increase in erythrocyte GSH levels was observed when MR was administered to mature adult rats. Fasting decreased liver GSH in controls but had no further effect in MR animals. By 1 mo, cysteine levels had decreased in all tissues except brain. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that adaptive changes occur in the metabolism of Met, cysteine, and/or GSH as a result of MR in young and adult rats. These early metabolic changes lead to conservation of GSH levels in most extrahepatic tissues and increased GSH in erythrocytes by depleting liver GSH to a critical level.

Gong, Z., C. B. Ambrosone, S. E. McCann, G. Zirpoli, U. Chandran, C. C. Hong, D. H. Bovbjerg, L. Jandorf, G. Ciupak, K. Pawlish, Q. Lu, H. Hwang, T. Khoury, B. Wiam, and E. V. Bandera (2013) Int J Cancer

Associations of dietary folate, vitamin B6, B12 and methionine intake with risk of breast cancer among African American (AA) and European American (EA) women.

African American (AA) women are more likely than European American (EA) women to be diagnosed with breast cancer at younger ages and to develop poor prognosis tumors. However, these racial differences are largely unexplained. Folate and other methyl-group nutrients may be related to breast carcinogenesis, but few studies have examined these associations in AA populations. We examined the associations of dietary intake of these nutrients with breast cancer risk overall, by menopausal and estrogen receptor (ER) status among 1,582 AA (749 cases) and 1,434 EA (744 cases) women using data from a case-control study, the Women’s Circle of Health Study. Unconditional multivariable logistic regression models were used to compute odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association of each nutrient and breast cancer risk. In AA women, inverse associations were observed for natural food folate intake among premenopausal women (4th vs. 1st quartile: OR=0.57, 95% CI, 0.33-1.00; P for trend=0.06) and for ER positive tumors (4th vs. 1st quartile: OR=0.58, 95% CI, 0.36-0.93; P for trend=0.03), whereas in EA women, a positive association was observed for intake of synthetic folate (4th vs. 1st quartile: OR=1.53, 95% CI, 1.06-2.21; P for trend=0.03). Our findings suggest that natural food folate intake is inversely associated with breast cancer risk and that this association may vary by race, menopausal or ER status. The finding of an increased risk observed among EA women with the highest intake of synthetic folate from fortified foods warrants further investigation. (c) 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Chik, F., Z. Machnes, and M. Szyf (2013) Carcinogenesis

Synergistic anti breast cancer effect of a combined treatment with the methyl donor S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) with the DNA methylation inhibitor 5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine.

DNA demethylating agents activate tumor suppressor genes that are silenced by DNA methylation in cancer and are therefore emerging as a novel approach to cancer therapy. 5-azacytidine (VIDAZA), the first representative of this class of drugs was approved for treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes and is currently being tested on other cancers including solid tumors. However, 5-azacytidine or its deoxy-analogue (5-azaCdR) could also induce methylated pro-metastatic genes by DNA demethylation and induce cancer cell invasiveness. Since 5-azacytidine is a potent cancer growth inhibitor, we tested whether combining it with a DNA methylating agent, the methyl donor S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), would block the adverse demethylating activity of 5-azaCdR while maintaining its growth suppression effects. We show here using several invasive and non-invasive breast cancer cell lines that SAM inhibits global and gene specific demethylation induced by 5-azaCdR, prevents 5-azaCdR activation of pro-metastatic genes uPA and MMP2, resulting in inhibition of cell invasiveness while augmenting the growth inhibitory effects of 5-azaCdR and its effects on tumor suppressor genes. Combination of drugs acting on the DNA methylation machinery at different levels is proposed as a new strategy for epigenetic therapy of cancer.

Wu, X., J. Cheng, and L. Lu (2013) Nutr Cancer 65:866-873.

Vitamin B12 and methionine deficiencies induce genome damage measured using the cytokinesis-block micronucleus cytome assay in human B lymphoblastoid cell lines.

One-carbon metabolism is a network of interrelated biochemical reactions that has 2 major functions: DNA methylation and DNA synthesis. Methionine (Met), an essential amino acid, is converted to S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM), the body’s main methyl group donor, which is converted to S-adenosylhomocysteine during methylation reactions. Vitamin B12 (B12) acts as a coenzyme of methionine synthase, which is required for the synthesis of Met and SAM. To determine the effects of Met and B12, we used the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay in GM13705 and GM12593 cell line cultures exposed to 13 unique combinations of B12 and Met concentrations over 9 days. The nutrient levels chosen span the normal physiological ranges in humans. The Met-B12 concentration significantly and negatively correlated with all markers of genotoxicity in the 2 cell lines tested. In both cell lines, all markers of genotoxicity were significantly higher when treated with 15 muM Met than when treated with 50 muM Met, regardless of the B12 treatment level. Genotoxicity was significantly reduced in the group treated with 50 muM Met and 600 pM B12. Concentrations of 50 muM Met and 600 pM B12 are an optimal combination for stabilizing the genome. It is advisable to acquire adequate amounts of Met and B12 for maintaining genome stability.

Wu, W., S. Kang, and D. Zhang (2013) Br J Cancer

Association of vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and methionine with risk of breast cancer: a dose-response meta-analysis.

Background:Epidemiological studies evaluating the association of vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and methionine with breast cancer risk have produced inconsistent results.Methods:Pertinent studies were identified by a search in PubMed and Web of Knowledge. Random-effect model was used. Dose-response relationship was assessed by restricted cubic spline.Results:The combined relative risk (95% confidence interval) of breast cancer for the highest vs lowest category of serum pyridoxal 5’-phosphate (PLP, active form of vitamin B6) levels and dietary methionine intake was 0.80 (0.66-0.98, P=0.03) and 0.94 (0.89-0.99, P=0.03), respectively, and the associations of breast cancer with higher serum PLP levels and dietary methionine intake were significant among post-menopausal women, but not among pre-menopausal women. The inverse association between breast cancer risk and dietary vitamin B6 intake, serum vitamin B12 levels and dietary vitamin B12 intake was not significant overall. Linear dose-response relationship was found, and the risk of breast cancer decreased by 23% (P<0.00) for every 100 pmol ml-1 increment in PLP levels and 4% (P=0.05) for every 1 g per day increment in dietary methionine intake, respectively.Conclusion:Serum PLP levels and methionine intake might be inversely associated with breast cancer risk, especially among postmenopausal women, which need to be confirmed.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication, 1 August 2013; doi:10.1038/bjc.2013.438 www.bjcancer.com.

Kadaveru, K., P. Protiva, E. J. Greenspan, Y. I. Kim, and D. W. Rosenberg (2012) Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 5:911-920.

Dietary methyl donor depletion protects against intestinal tumorigenesis in Apc(Min/+) mice.

Despite recent population data, the influence of dietary folate supplementation on colon cancer risk remains controversial. This study examines the effects of folate deficiency, in combination with choline, methionine, and vitamin B12 depletion, on intestinal tumorigenesis in Apc(Min/+) mice. Methyl donor sufficient (MDS) and deficient (MDD) diets were started at five or 10 weeks of age and tumors evaluated at 16 weeks. MDD suppressed intestinal tumor formation in Apc(Min/+) mice (~80%) when started at five weeks of age. The protective effect was lost when MDD was initiated at 10 weeks of age, indicating an important time dependency on cancer suppression. Concomitant with cancer protection, MDD restricted body weight gain. Therefore, a second study was conducted in which MDS was given ad libitum or pair-fed with MDD. Although small intestinal tumors were reduced 54% in pair-fed MDS mice, MDD caused a further reduction (96%). In colon, although MDD did not affect tumor numbers, tumor size was reduced. Gene expression profiling of normal-appearing colonic mucosa after 11 weeks on MDD identified a total of 493 significantly downregulated genes relative to the MDS group. Pathway analysis placed many of these genes within general categories of inflammatory signaling and cell-cycle regulation, consistent with recently published human data obtained during folate depletion. Further studies are warranted to investigate the complex interplay of methyl donor status and cancer protection in high-risk populations.

Voutounou, M., C. D. Glen, and Y. E. Dubrova (2012) Mutat Res 734:1-4.

The effects of methyl-donor deficiency on mutation induction and transgenerational instability in mice.

The results of recent human and animal studies have provided strong evidence for the epigenetic effects of a dietary deficiency of methyl donors such as folate, choline and methionine on cancer risk and some other common diseases. However, the mechanisms underlying the links between epigenetic alterations and disease remain elusive. To establish whether a methyl-donor deficient diet can result in long-term changes in mutation rate in treated animals and their offspring, BALB/c male mice were maintained for 8 weeks, from 4 weeks of age, on a synthetic diet lacking in choline and folic acid. Using single-molecule PCR, the frequency of mutation at the mouse expanded simple tandem repeat (ESTR) locus Ms6-hm was established in sperm samples of treated males, as well as in sperm and brain of their first-generation offspring. ESTR mutation frequency in the germline of males sacrificed immediately after treatment or sampled 6 and 10 weeks after the end of dietary restriction did not significantly differ from that in age-matched control groups. The frequency of ESTR mutation in DNA samples extracted from sperm and brain of the first-generation offspring of treated mice was also similar to that in controls. The results of our study suggest that the effects of a methyl-donor deficient diet on mutation induction and transgenerational instability in mice are likely to be negligible.

Liu, X., Y. M. Fu, and G. G. Meadows (2011) Oncol Lett 2:349-355.

Differential effects of specific amino acid restriction on glucose metabolism, reduction/oxidation status and mitochondrial damage in DU145 and PC3 prostate cancer cells.

Selective amino acid restriction targets mitochondria to induce apoptosis of DU145 and PC3 prostate cancer cells. Biochemical assays and flow cytometry were uitilized to analyze the glucose consumption, lactate production, pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)/NADH and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP)/NADPH ratios, mitochondrial glutathione peroxidase (GPx), manganese superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and DNA damage in DU145 and PC prostate cancer cells cultured under various amino acid deprived conditions. Restriction of tyrosine and phenylalanine (Tyr/Phe), glutamine (Gln) or methionine (Met) differentially modulated glucose metabolism and PDH and antioxidant enzyme activity in the mitochondria of the two prostate cancer cell lines. In DU145 cells, Gln and Met restriction increased glucose consumption and decreased lactate production, but Tyr/Phe restriction did not. The examined restrictions increased mitochondrial PDH activity and accumulation of ROS. Gln and Met restriction increased GPx activity. Tyr/Phe and Met restriction increased SOD during the first 2 days of the restriction, and the activity returned to the basal level on day 4. All amino acid restrictions decreased reduced glutathione (GSH) and induced mitochondrial DNA damage. In PC3 cells, all amino acid restrictions reduced glucose consumption and lactate production. Gln restriction increased ROS and elevated GPx activity. Tyr/Phe restriction increased SOD activity. The amino acid restriction decreased GSH, but did not cause mitochondrial DNA damage. Specific amino acid dependency differentially regulates glucose metabolism, oxidation-reduction reactions of mitochondria and mitochondrial damage in DU145 and PC3 prostate cancer cell lines.

Loenen, W. A. (2006) Biochem Soc Trans 34:330-333.

S-adenosylmethionine: jack of all trades and master of everything?

SAM (S-adenosylmethionine, also known as AdoMet) is well known as the methyl donor for the majority of methyltransferases that modify DNA, RNA, histones and other proteins, dictating replicational, transcriptional and translational fidelity, mismatch repair, chromatin modelling, epigenetic modifications and imprinting, which are all topics of great interest and importance in cancer research and aging. In total, 15 superfamilies of SAM-binding proteins have been identified, with many additional functions varying from methylation of phospholipids and small molecules such as arsenic to synthesis of polyamines or radical formation. SAM is regenerated from demethylated SAM via the methionine cycle, which involves folate. Imbalance of this cycle in humans, e.g. through folate shortage via dietary insufficiency, alcohol abuse, arsenic poisoning or hereditary factors, leads to depletion of SAM and human disease. In addition to its role as a methyl donor to modification enzymes that protect bacterial DNA against cognate restriction, SAM also serves as a co-factor for nucleases such as the type I restriction enzyme EcoKI, which is unable to restrict DNA in the absence of SAM. Finally, on a completely different tack, SAM can bind to certain RNA structures called riboswitches that control transcription or translation. In this way, expression of multiple genes can be regulated in a SAM-dependent manner, an unexpected finding that opens up new avenues into gene control. This minireview discusses some of these diverse and amazing roles of this small metabolite.

Troen, A. M., E. E. French, J. F. Roberts, J. Selhub, J. M. Ordovas, L. D. Parnell, and C. Q. Lai (2007) Age (Dordr) 29:29-39.

Lifespan modification by glucose and methionine in Drosophila melanogaster fed a chemically defined diet.

Experimentally restricting dietary calories, while maintaining adequate dietary nutrient content, extends lifespan in phylogenetically diverse species; thus suggesting the existence of conserved pathways which can modify lifespan in response to energy intake. However, in some cases the impact on longevity may depend on the quality of the energy source. In Drosophila, restriction of dietary yeast yields considerable lifespan extension whereas isocaloric restriction of dietary sugar yields only modest extension, indicating that other diet-responsive pathways can modify lifespan in this species. In rodents, restricting intake of a single amino acid – methionine – extends lifespan. Here we show that dietary methionine can modify lifespan in adult female, non-virgin Oregon-R strain Drosophila fed a chemically defined media. Compared to a diet containing 0.135% methionine and 15% glucose, high dietary methionine (0.405%) shortened maximum lifespan by 2.33% from 86 to 84 days and mean lifespan by 9.55% from 71.7 to 64.9 days. Further restriction of methionine to 0.045% did not extend maximum lifespan and shortened mean lifespan by 1.95% from 71.1 to 70.3 days. Restricting glucose from 15% to 5% while holding methionine at a concentration of 0.135%, modestly extended maximum lifespan by 5.8% from 86 to 91 days, without extending mean lifespan. All these diet-induced changes were highly significant (log-rank p < 0.0001). Notably, all four diets resulted in considerably longer life spans than those typically reported for flies fed conventional yeast and sugar based diets. Such defined diets can be used to identify lifespan-modifying pathways and specific gene-nutrient interactions in Drosophila.

Richie, J. P. J., Y. Leutzinger, S. Parthasarathy, V. Malloy, N. Orentreich, and J. A. Zimmerman (1994) FASEB J 8:1302-1307.

Methionine restriction increases blood glutathione and longevity in F344 rats.

Little is known about the biochemical mechanisms responsible for the biological aging process. Our previous results and those of others suggest that one possible mechanism is based on the loss of glutathione (GSH), a multifunctional tripeptide present in high concentrations in nearly all living cells. The recent finding that life-long dietary restriction of the GSH precursor methionine (Met) resulted in increased longevity in rats led us to hypothesize that adaptive changes in Met and GSH metabolism had occurred, leading to enhanced GSH status. To test this, blood and tissue GSH levels were measured at different ages throughout the life span in F344 rats on control or Met-restricted diets. Met restriction resulted in a 42% increase in mean and 44% increase in maximum life span, and in 43% lower body weight compared to controls (P < 0.001). Increases in blood GSH levels of 81% and 164% were observed in mature and old Met-restricted animals, respectively (P < 0.001). Liver was apparently the source for this increase as hepatic GSH levels decreased to 40% of controls. Except for a 25% decrease in kidney, GSH was unchanged in other tissues. All changes in GSH occurred as early as 2 months after the start of the diet. Altogether, these results suggest that dramatic adaptations in sulfur amino acid metabolism occur as a result of chronic Met restriction, leading to increases in blood GSH levels and conservation of tissue GSH during aging.

Kabil, H., O. Kabil, R. Banerjee, L. G. Harshman, and S. D. Pletcher (2011) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108:16831-16836.

Increased transsulfuration mediates longevity and dietary restriction in Drosophila.

The mechanisms through which dietary restriction enhances health and longevity in diverse species are unclear. The transsulfuration pathway (TSP) is a highly conserved mechanism for metabolizing the sulfur-containing amino acids, methionine and cysteine. Here we show that Drosophila cystathionine beta-synthase (dCBS), which catalyzes the rate-determining step in the TSP, is a positive regulator of lifespan in Drosophila and that the pathway is required for the effects of diet restriction on animal physiology and lifespan. dCBS activity was up-regulated in flies exposed to reduced nutrient conditions, and ubiquitous or neuron-specific transgenic overexpression of dCBS enhanced longevity in fully fed animals. Inhibition of the TSP abrogated the changes in lifespan, adiposity, and protein content that normally accompany diet restriction. RNAi-mediated knockdown of dCBS also limited lifespan extension by diet. Diet restriction reduced levels of protein translation in Drosophila, and we show that this is largely caused by increased metabolic commitment of methionine cycle intermediates to transsulfuration. However, dietary supplementation of methionine restored normal levels of protein synthesis to restricted animals without affecting lifespan, indicating that global reductions in translation alone are not required for diet-restriction longevity. Our results indicate a mechanism by which dietary restriction influences physiology and aging.

Sain, H., B. Sharma, A. S. Jaggi, and N. Singh (2011) Neuroscience 192:322-333.

Pharmacological investigations on potential of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma agonists in hyperhomocysteinemia-induced vascular dementia in rats.

The present study has been designed to investigate the potential of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma ([PPAR]-gamma) agonists, pioglitazone, and rosiglitazone in hyperhomocysteinemia-induced vascular dementia of rats. l-methionine was administered for 8 weeks to induce hyperhomocysteinemia and associated vascular dementia. Pioglitazone and rosiglitazone were administered to l-methionine-treated rats for 4 weeks (starting from 5th to 8th weeks of methionine treatment). Donepezil served as a positive control in this study. On 52nd day onward, the animals were exposed to Morris water maze (MWM) for testing learning and memory abilities. Vascular endothelial function, serum nitrite/nitrate levels, brain thiobarbituric acid reactive species (TBARS), brain reduced glutathione (GSH) levels, and brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity were also measured. l-methionine-treated animals have shown impairment of learning, memory, endothelial function, decrease in serum nitrite/nitrate levels, and brain GSH levels along with increase in brain TBARS levels and AChE activity. Pioglitazone, rosiglitazone, and donepezil significantly improved hyperhomocysteinemia-induced impairment of learning, memory, endothelial dysfunction, and changes in various biochemical parameters. It is concluded that pioglitazone and rosiglitazone may be considered as potential pharmacological agents for the management of hyperhomocysteinemia-induced vascular dementia.

Perrone, C. E., D. A. Mattocks, M. Jarvis-Morar, J. D. Plummer, and N. Orentreich (2010) Metabolism 59:1000-1011.

Methionine restriction effects on mitochondrial biogenesis and aerobic capacity in white adipose tissue, liver, and skeletal muscle of F344 rats.

Methionine restriction increases life span in rats and mice and reduces age-related accretion of adipose tissue in Fischer 344 rats. Recent reports have shown that adipose tissue mitochondrial content and function are associated with adiposity; therefore, the expression of genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis and oxidative capacity was examined in white adipose tissue, liver, and skeletal muscle from Fischer 344 rats fed control (0.86% methionine) or methionine-restricted (0.17% methionine) diets for 3 months. Methionine restriction induced transcriptional changes of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor coactivators 1alpha and 1beta, and some of their known target genes in all of these tissues. In addition, tissue-specific responses were elicited at the protein level. In inguinal adipose tissue, methionine restriction increased protein levels of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor coactivator target genes. It also induced mitochondrial DNA copy number, suggesting mitochondrial biogenesis and corresponding with the up-regulation of citrate synthase activity. In contrast, methionine restriction induced changes in mitochondrial glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase activity and stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase 1 protein levels only in liver and uncoupling protein 3 and cytochrome c oxidase subunit IV protein levels only in skeletal muscle. No increase in mitochondrial DNA copy number was observed in liver and skeletal muscle despite an increase in mitochondrial citrate synthase activity. The results indicate that adiposity resistance in methionine-restricted rats is associated with mitochondrial biogenesis in inguinal adipose tissue and increased mitochondrial aerobic capacity in liver and skeletal muscle.

Wanders, D., S. Ghosh, K. P. Stone, N. T. Van, and T. W. Gettys (2013) Biofactors

Transcriptional impact of dietary methionine restriction on systemic inflammation: Relevance to biomarkers of metabolic disease during aging.

Calorie restriction (CR) without malnutrition increases lifespan and produces significant improvements in biomarkers of metabolic health. The improvements are attributable in part to effects of CR on energy balance, which limit fat accumulation by restricting energy intake. Normal age-associated increases in adiposity and insulin resistance are associated with development of a systemic proinflammatory state, while chronic CR limits fat deposition and expression of inflammatory markers. Dietary methionine restriction (MR) has emerged as an effective CR mimetic because it produces a comparable extension in lifespan. MR also reduces adiposity through a compensatory increase in energy expenditure that effectively limits fat accumulation, but essentially nothing is known about the effects of MR on systemic inflammation. Here, we review the relationships between these two interventions and discuss their transcriptional impact. In addition, using tissues from rats after long-term consumption of CR or MR diets, transcriptional profiling was used to examine retrospectively the systems biology of 59 networks of molecules annotated to inflammation. Transcriptional effects of both diets occurred primarily in white adipose tissue and liver, and the responses to MR were far more robust than those to CR. The primary transcriptional targets of MR in both liver and white adipose tissue were phagocytes and macrophages, where expression of genes associated with immune cell infiltration and quantity was reduced. These findings support the conclusion that anti-inflammatory responses produced by CR and MR are not strictly dependent upon reduced adiposity but are significantly influenced by the metabolic mechanisms through which energy balance is altered. (c) 2013 BioFactors, 2013.

Fukagawa, N. K., and R. A. Galbraith (2004) J Nutr 134:1569S-1574S.

Advancing age and other factors influencing the balance between amino acid requirements and toxicity.

As the average human lifespan increases, so does the recognition that advancing age is associated with changes in nutrient intake and requirements as a consequence of biological, social, and pathological factors. Studies show that whereas protein requirements may not differ significantly between younger and older adults, the adaptive mechanisms and responses to nutritional or pathological stressors may differ and alter the balance between requirement and toxicity of specific amino acids (AAs). As an individual gets older, cardiovascular disease and cancer become the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Advancing age is also associated with changes in appetite, food intake, and physical activity, all of which can influence protein and AA metabolism. The sulfur amino acids (SAAs) methionine and cysteine recently attracted attention because of their pivotal roles in methyl group metabolism and maintenance of the cellular redox state. Methionine, an indispensable AA, is important for methylation reactions and as a precursor for cysteine, which is the rate-limiting AA for glutathione (GSH) synthesis. On one hand, high intake levels or blood concentrations of methionine are associated with adverse consequences such as hyperhomocysteinemia and endothelial dysfunction, which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, methionine deficiency is reported to lower the threshold of chemical-induced toxicity and play a role in carcinogenesis. Therefore, it is evident that understanding the biological significance of the interrelationship between SAAs, GSH, and methyl group metabolism is key to determining optimal dietary intakes of SAAs in older individuals.

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