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Reproduction, fat metabolism, and life span: what is the connection?
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Reduced reproduction is associated with increased fat storage and prolonged life span in multiple organisms, but the underlying regulatory mechanisms remain poorly understood. Recent studies in several species provide evidence that reproduction, fat metabolism, and longevity are directly coupled. For instance, germline removal in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans promotes longevity in part by modulating lipid metabolism through effects on fatty acid desaturation, lipolysis, and autophagy. Here, we review these recent studies and discuss the mechanisms by which reproduction modulates fat metabolism and life span. Elucidating the relationship between these processes could contribute to our understanding of age-related diseases including metabolic disorders.
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