Research: Can young people's blood rejuvenate older people?

Rejuvenated old mice after infusing young blood
Three scientific studies have concluded that old mice are rejuvenated by injecting blood into younger animals. However, the researchers warn against experiments with the infusion of young blood in humans. Although the aging in the muscles and brain of old mice was reversed in the experiments, the results were limited to a genetic strain of mice and are not readily transferable to humans. Nevertheless, the results of future medical therapies can help.

Last year, the team led by Dr. Richard Lee of Harvard University published a study that found that a protein called GDF11 in the blood of young mice has a rejuvenating effect on the heart of old mice. At the time, however, as the US newspaper “The Boston Globe” reports, “Nobody knew whether the effect is specific for the heart or for aging in other tissues.” Two recent studies published in the journal “Science” now confirm the rejuvenation effect for the brain and muscles, reports the US newspaper.

Old mice fit again after the blood infusion
After infusing the protein, the newspaper said the older mice could walk on treadmills almost twice as long as untreated mice. In addition, the first study by Harvard University demonstrated “profound changes in the muscle stem cells of older mice”, whereby the cells appeared younger and “changes in the structure of the muscle” were also found, reports “The Boston Globe”.

The injection of the protein had no effect in young mice. In a second study, Dr. Lee Rubin, director of translational medicine at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, demonstrated that infusing the blood of young mice in older animals also causes an increase in branching of blood vessels in the brain and an increased rate of brain cell regeneration. The treated animals were more sensitive to smells, which shows that the treatment also had an effect on their ability, reports Dr. Ruby.

Rejuvenation in the heart, muscles and brain
The third study was published in the journal Nature Medicine by researchers from the University of California. The scientists observed changes in gene activity in the brains of older mice after infusing the blood of young animals. The researchers found changes in the activity of genes and the connectivity of brain cells in the hippocampus. The older animals could have solved certain memory tasks much better after the treatment.

Saul Villeda of the University of California told The Boston Globe that the three current works, despite their different approaches, are mutually reinforcing in their results. The proven effects on the heart, muscles, and brain are particularly promising, according to Amy Wagers, a professor of stem cell and regeneration biology at Harvard University, because these tissue structures are most affected by advancing age. "Changes in these tissues are responsible for the changes that people are most concerned about - namely, loss of cognitive ability and motor function," continued Wagers.

According to the researchers, many questions remain regarding the mechanism of the protein and the best therapeutic strategies, but work is already underway to commercialize the discovered protein. In addition, a comparable protein has also been detected in human blood, which gives hope for further therapeutic options in the future. The researchers explicitly warned against "The Boston Globe" against vampire cults with blood infusions. (fp)

Author and source information

Video: Why Are Old People Taking The Blood Of Young People? (January 2022).