1. Developmental Biology
  2. Immunology and Inflammation
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Sex difference in pathology of the ageing gut mediates the greater response of female lifespan to dietary restriction

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Cite this article as: eLife 2016;5:e10956 doi: 10.7554/eLife.10956

Abstract

Women live on average longer than men, but have greater levels of late-life morbidity. We have uncovered a substantial sex difference in the pathology of the ageing gut in Drosophila. The intestinal epithelium of the ageing female undergoes major deterioration, driven by intestinal stem cell (ISC) division, while lower ISC activity in males associates with delay or absence of pathology, and better barrier function, even at old ages. Males succumb to intestinal challenges to which females are resistant, associated with fewer proliferating ISCs, suggesting a trade-off between highly active repair mechanisms and late-life pathology in females. Dietary restriction reduces gut pathology in ageing females, and extends female lifespan more than male. By genetic sex reversal of a specific gut region, we induced female-like ageing pathologies in males, associated with decreased lifespan, but also with a greater increase in longevity in response to dietary restriction.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Jennifer C Regan

    Institute of Healthy Ageing, Department of Genetics, Evolution, and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    For correspondence
    j.regan@ucl.ac.uk
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Mobina Khericha

    Institute of Healthy Ageing, Department of Genetics, Evolution, and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Adam J Dobson

    Institute of Healthy Ageing, Department of Genetics, Evolution, and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Ekin Bolukbasi

    Institute of Healthy Ageing, Department of Genetics, Evolution, and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Nattaphong Rattanavirotkul

    Institute of Healthy Ageing, Department of Genetics, Evolution, and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Linda Partridge

    Institute of Healthy Ageing, Department of Genetics, Evolution, and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Andrew Dillin, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Berkeley, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: August 18, 2015
  2. Accepted: February 2, 2016
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: February 16, 2016 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: March 14, 2016 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2016, Regan et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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