The effect of germ-free life and dietary restriction (DR) on life span and pathology was investigated in isolator housed germ-free (GF) and conventional (CV) Lobund-Wistar rats fed either ad libitum or restricted to 12 grams per day (70% of adult ad libitum intake) of a natural ingredient diet from weaning. The median length of life of ad libitum CV and GF rats was 31.0 and 33.6 months respectively, while DR increased the median length of life of CV and GF rats to 38.6 and 37.8 months respectively. DR reduced the frequency or postponed the occurrence of diseases which eventually lead to death in the Lobund-Wistar rat. This was especially true of prostate adenocarcinoma, prostatitis, and mammary fibroma. The reduced early food intake and smaller body weight of adult GF rats may be the reason ad libitum fed GF rats live slightly longer than their CV counterparts, but GF life was without additional effect on life span when food intake was restricted.