Many studies of caloric restriction (CR) in rodents and lower animals indicate that this nutritional manipulation retards aging processes, as evidenced by increased longevity, reduced pathology, and maintenance of physiological function in a more youthful state. The anti-aging effects of CR are believed to relate, at least in part, to changes in energy metabolism. We are attempting to determine whether similar effects occur in response to CR in nonhuman primates. Core (rectal) body temperature decreased progressively with age from 2 to 30 years in rhesus monkeys fed ad lib (controls) and is reduced by approximately 0.5 degrees C in age-matched monkeys subjected to 6 years of a 30% reduction in caloric intake. A short-term (1 month) 30% restriction of 2.5-year-old monkeys lowered subcutaneous body temperature by 1.0 degrees C. Indirect calorimetry showed that 24-hr energy expenditure was reduced by approximately 24% during short-term CR. The temporal association between reduced body temperature and energy expenditure suggests that reductions in body temperature relate to the induction of an energy conservation mechanism during CR. These reductions in body temperature and energy expenditure are consistent with findings in rodent studies in which aging rate was retarded by CR, now strengthening the possibility that CR may exert beneficial effects in primates analogous to those observed in rodents.