Young blood holds key for reversing ageing: Studies
In what could be termed as a game changer for the scientific community, three separate teams of researchers have discovered how the ageing process can be reversed one day in humans - by infusing young blood.
These studies have shown rejuvenating effects in memory, muscle strength, endurance and sense of smell in eldery mice who were infused with the blood of young mice.
"There might be factors in the young blood that can produce globally regenerating effects in older animals," the researchers added.
"The changes are astounding in terms of rejuvenating the mice both in the periphery of the body and in the brain," Rudolph Tanzi, a professor of neurology at Harvard University who was not part of the research was quoted as saying in a National Geographic report.
In first of the two papers published in the journal Science, a Harvard team found that by either connecting the circulatory systems of young and old mice - or injecting old mice with a signaling protein isolated from young blood - they could strengthen and rejuvenate aged muscles.
The research was led by Amy Wagers, a professor of stem cell and regenerative biology at Harvard.
The protein used in the study, called GDF11, is already known to reduce age-related heart enlargement, which is characteristic of heart failure.
In the second paper that appeared in Science, another team from Harvard, led by research associate Lida Katsimpardi, also transferred GDF11 from young mice to old ones.
The young blood improved circulation in a particular brain region, which, in turn, stimulated the production of new nerve cells.
When these cells migrated to the olfactory bulb and matured, the elderly mouse's sense of smell improved, reversing the loss in sensitivity normally associated with aging.
Third study published in the journal Nature Medicine, conducted by Saul Villeda at University of California, San Francisco and Tony Wyss-Coray at Stanford showed young blood could stimulate the growth of brain stem cells and new neurons.
In addition to reversing the normal ravages of ageing, young blood might help turn around declines in cognitive function associated with age-related conditions, the National Geographic report added.
(Posted on 05-05-2014)