Neuroscience Letters. 2014 May 21;569:38-42.
The rhesus macaque exhibits age-related brain changes similar to humans, making an excellent model of normal aging. Calorie restriction is a dietary intervention that reduces age-related comorbidities in short-lived animals, and its effects are still under study in rhesus macaques. Here, using deterministic fiber tracking method, we examined the effects of age and calorie restriction on a diffusion tensor imaging measure of white matter integrity, fractional anisotropy (FA), within white matter tracks traversing the anterior (genu) and posterior (splenium) corpus callosum in rhesus monkeys. Our results show: (1) a significant inverse relationship between age and mean FA of tracks traversing the genu and splenium; (2) higher mean FA of the splenium tracks as compared to that of genu tracks across groups; and (3) no significant diet effect on mean track FA through either location. These results are congruent with the age-related decline in white matter integrity reported in humans and monkeys, and the anterior-to-posterior gradient in white matter vulnerability to normal aging in humans. Further studies are warranted to critically evaluate the effect of calorie restriction on brain aging in this unique cohort of elderly primates.