Contact

Department

Cellular and Integrative Physiology

James F. Nelson, Ph.D.

Professor

Education

B.A., University of Southern California, 1971
M.S., University of Southern California, 1975
Ph.D., University of Southern California, 1981

Research

Dr. Nelson’s research aims to understand the genetic and physiological basis for aging, using nutritional and pharmacologic interventions that extend rodent lifespan as probes. Most recently, his laboratory discovered dramatic genetic variation in the lifespan response to dietary restriction, including a life-shortening effect in some genotypes. These findings provide a new way of identifying the genes and probing the mechanisms whereby dietary restriction and other interventions affect aging. For example, his group found that maintenance–not reduction–of adiposity was a strong correlate of lifespan extension, whereas reduction in adiposity was a risk factor for life shortening by dietary restriction. His research also focuses on the role of endocrine systems in aging, with a particular emphasis on the role of hyperadrenocorticism and insulin signaling in the life-extending effect of dietary restriction. In addition, the NIA-funded Interventions Testing Center in which he participates has discovered lifespan- and heathspan-extending effects of several compounds with potential clinical application, including rapamycin, an FDA-approved inhibitor of mTOR signaling.

Lab Members

Graduate Student
 Victoria DeLeon
 Vivian Diaz
Project Coordinator
 Ariana Hall
Research Assistant
 Aaron Regalado
Research Assistant
 Cassandra Tolento
Research Assistant

Publications

Strong R, Miller RA, Astle CM, Baur JA, de Cabo R, Fernandez E, Guo W, Javors M, Kirkland JL, Nelson JF, Sinclair DA, Teter B, Williams D, Zaveri N, Nadon NL, Harrison DE.  Evaluation of Resveratrol, Green Tea Extract, Curcumin, Oxaloacetic Acid, and Medium-Chain Triglyceride Oil on Life Span of Genetically Heterogeneous Mice.  J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci.  68:6-16, 2013.

Liao CY, Johnson TE, Nelson JF.  Genetic variation in responses to dietary restriction – An unbiased tool for hypothesis testing.  Exp Gerontol 48:1025-9, 2013.

Nelson JF, Strong R, Bokov A, Diaz V, Ward W, Probing the Relationship Between insulin Sensitivity and Longevity Using Genetically Modified Mice J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 67:1332-8, 2012 .

Miller RA, Harrison DE, Astle CM, Baur JA, Boyd AR, de Cabo R, Fernandez E, Flurkey K, Javors MA, Nelson JF, Orihuela CJ, Pletcher S, Sharp ZD, Sinclair D, Starnes JW, Wilkinson JE, Nadon NL, Strong R.  Rapamycin, but not resveratrol or simvastatin, extends life span of genetically heterogeneous mice.  J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 66:191-201. 2011 .

 Liao, C.-Y., Rikke, B.A., Johnson, T.E., Gelfond, J.A.L., Diaz, V., and Nelson, JF.  Fat maintenance is a predictor of the Murine Lifespan Response to Dietary Restriction.  Aging Cell. 10:629-39. 2011.

Click here for more Liao CY, Rikke BA, Johnson TE, Diaz V, Nelson JF. Genetic Variation in the Murine Lifespan Response to Dietary Restriction: from Life Extension to Life Shortening. Aging Cell. 2010 Feb;9(1):92-5.

Rikke BR, Liao CY, McQueen MB, Nelson JF, Johnson TE. Genetic dissection of dietary restriction in mice supports the metabolic efficiency model of life extension. Exp Gerontol. 2010 Sep;45(9):691-701.

Liao,CY, Rikke BA, Johnson TE, Diaz V, Nelson JF.  Genetic variation in the murine lifespan response to dietary restriction:  From life extension to life shortening.  Aging Cell 9:92-5, 2010.

Liao, C.-Y., Rikke, B.A., Johnson, T.E., Diaz, V., and Nelson, JF No Evidence that Competition for Food Underlies Lifespan Shortening by Dietary Restriction in Multiply Housed Mice: Response to Commentary. Aging Cell 9, 450-452. 2010.

Rikke BA, Liao CY, McQueen MB, Nelson JF, Johnson TE. Genetic dissection of dietary restriction in mice supports the metabolic efficiency model of life extension. Exp Gerontol. 45:691-701. 2010.

Harrison DE, Strong R, Sharp ZD, Nelson JF, Astle CM, Flurkey K, Nadon NL, Wilkinson JE, Frenkel K, Carter CS, Pahor M, Javors MA, Fernandez E, Miller RA.Rapamycin fed late in life extends lifespan in genetically heterogeneous mice. Nature. 2009 Jul 8.

Strong R, Miller RA, Astle CM, Floyd RA, Flurkey K, Hensley KL, Javors MA, Leeuwenburgh C, Nelson JF, Ongini E. Nordihydroguaiaretic acid and aspirin increase lifespan of genetically heterogeneous male mice. Aging Cell. 2008 Oct;7(5):641-50.

Miller RA, Harrison DE, Astle CM, Floyd RA, Flurkey K, Hensley KL, Javors MA, Leeuwenburgh C, Nelson JF, Ongini E, Nadon NL, Warner HR, Strong R. An Aging Interventions Testing Program: study design and interim report. Aging Cell. 2007 Aug;6(4):565-75.

Busuttil RA, Garcia AM, Reddick RL, Dollé ME, Calder RB, Nelson JF, Vijg J. Intra-organ variation in age-related mutation accumulation in the mouse. Intra-organ variation in age-related mutation accumulation in the mouse. PLoS ONE. 2007 Sep 12;2(9):e876.

Ikeno Y, Hubbard GB, Lee S, Richardson A, Strong R, Diaz V, Nelson JF. Housing density does not influence the longevity effect of calorie restriction. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2005 Dec;60(12):1510-7.

Richardson A, Liu F, Adamo ML, Van Remmen H, Nelson JF. The role of insulin and insulin-like growth factor-I in mammalian ageing. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Sep;18(3):393-406.

Sharp ZD, Lee WH, Nikitin AY, Flesken-Nikitin A, Ikeno Y, Reddick R, Richardson AG, Nelson JF.Minimal effects of dietary restriction on neuroendocrine carcinogenesis in Rb(+/-) mice. Carcinogenesis. 24(2):179-183, Feb 2003.

Morgan, WW, Richardson AG, Nelson JF. Dietary restriction does not protect the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway of older animals from low-dose MPTP-induced neurotoxicity. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2003 May;58(5):B394-9.

Liang H, Masoro EJ, Nelson JF, Strong R, McMahan CA, Richardson AM. Genetic mouse models of extended lifespan. Exp Gerontol. 2003 Nov-Dec;38(11-12):1353-64.

Pahlavani MA, Vargas DA, Evans TR, Shu JH, Nelson JF. Melatonin fails to modulate immune parameters influenced by calorie restriction in aging Fischer 344 rats.
Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 227(3):201-7, 2002 Mar.

Chandrasekar B, Nelson JF, Colston JT, Freeman GL. Calorie restriction attenuates inflammatory responses to myocardialischemia-reperfusion injuryAm J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 280(5):H2094-2102, 2001.

Han ES, Evans TR, Shu JH, Lee S., Nelson JF. Food restriction enhances endogenous and corticotropin-induced plasma elevations of free but not total corticosterone throughout life in ratsJ Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 56(9):B391-7, 2001 Sept.

Han E, Hilsenbeck SG, Richardson A, Nelson JF. cDNA expression arrays reveal incomplete reversal of age-related changes in gene expression by calorie restrictionMech Ageing Dev. 115(3):157-174, 2000.

Miller RA, Harrison DE, Astle CM, Baur JA, Boyd AR, de Cabo R, Fernandez E, Flurkey K, Javors MA, Nelson JF, Orihuela CJ, Pletcher S, Sharp ZD, Sinclair D, Starnes JW, Wilkinson JE, Nadon NL, Strong R. Rapamycin, but not resveratrol or simvastatin, extends life span of genetically heterogeneous mice. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2011 Feb;66(2):191-201. Epub 2010 Oct 25.