Under calorie restriction (CR) animals need to lower energy demands. Whether this involves a reduction in cellular metabolism is an issue of contention. We exposed C57BL/6 mice to graded CR for 3 months, measured BMR and dissected out 20 body compartments. From a separate age-matched group (n=57), we built 7 predictive models for BMR. Unadjusted BMR declined with severity of restriction. Comparison of measured and predicted BMR from the simple models suggested suppression occurred. The extent of 'suppression' was greater with increased CR severity. However, when models based on individual organ sizes as predictors were used, the discrepancy between the prediction and the observed BMR disappeared. This suggested 'metabolic suppression' was an artefact of not having a detailed enough model to predict the expected changes in metabolism. Our data have wide implications because they indicate that inferred 'metabolic' impacts of genetic and other manipulations may reflect effects on organ morphology.
Mitchell, S. E., Tang, Z., Kerbois, C., Delville, C., Derous, D., Green, C. L., … Speakman, J. R. (2017). The effects of graded levels of calorie restriction: VIII. Impact of short term calorie and protein restriction on basal metabolic rate in the C57BL/6 mouse. Oncotarget, 8(11). https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.15294