Old Mice Given Young Blood Rejuvenates Brains and Musclesadmin
Two recent studies report that infusing old mice with the blood of young mice, reversed age related impairments. Upon infusion of the blood, the creation of new neurons occurred and the brain had an increased ability to respond to experiences. Learning and memory declines were also reversed and improved in the old mice.
There was also a third study done which analyzed the effects of a particular protein readily prevalent in the blood of young mice. This study showed that giving the old mice (equivalent of 70 years old humans), young mice blood it allowed the old mice to exercise again.
The results of the study suggest that there may be diffusible proteins and other factors in blood that deplete or disappear as we get older. If these proteins and factors can be isolated, you can then give them as dietary supplements.
There have been previous studies that have shown that given young mice old mice’s blood impaired them cognitively. However, these are some of the first studies that show giving old mice young blood.
The study was led by Tony Wyss-Coray of Stanford University and Saul Vileda of the University of California San Francisco. There were two methods used to inject the young blood into old mice. The first was injecting plasma from 3 month old mice (the equivalent of a young adult) into 18 month old mice (near end of life for mice). The second method was to surgically connect the circulatory system of a young mouse to an old one.
Upon one of the two methods above the old mice improved substantially on learning and memory. The two main tests given were a water maze and electric shock test. What is even more interesting is that examining the brain of the old mice showed that the treated brains had more dendritic spines. These spines are the structures on which neurons communicate with each other. In addition more molecules were produced which normally correspond to learning.
This study shows that age related impairments can be reversed and that declines are reversible. This is proven in the study, since the young blood is shown to counteract it at the hippocampus level. The hippocampus is one of the main elements in our learning and memory functions. It is also one of the parts of the brain that gets damaged the most by Alzheimer’s.
Though they have these incredible findings the group was not able to isolate what in the blood had these rejuvenating factors. However, when exposed to high heat the effects went away. This most likely means that the active protein that causes these benefits is eliminated by heat.
In previous, separate studies, by Amy Wagers and Lee Rubin at Harvard they had similar results. They believe they identified the growth factor GDF11. Testing on GDF111 is set to begin in 3 to 5 years.
Stanford’s Wyss-Coray has also founded a company called Alkahest that is devoted to testing the effects of young blood on older brains.
by Dante Boyer