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How food restriction affects immunity.

How food restriction affects immunity

Chronically underfed animals live longer than their heavily fed counterparts (SN: 8/27/88, p. 142). They also tend to suffer fewer illnesses, including autoimmune diseases (SN: 10/8/88, p. 228)--an observation that may help explain their longevity. But researchers have been hard-pressed to explain why diet restriction works.

Robert A. Good of the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg and his co-workers now report what they consider to be several potentially important clues. First, they showed that mice prone to autoimmune disease naturally produce two to seven times the normal amount of Ly-1.sup.+ B-cells--a type of white blood cell involved in the production of autoantibodies, which attack the body's own substances. They also demonstrated that chronically restricting the diets of the autoimmune-prone mice to 60 percent of normal reduces the number of these potentially detrimental B-cells to a normal level.

The researchers report their findings in the June PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES (Vol. 86, No. 11).
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Title Annotation:Food Science
Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 15, 1989
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