11 January 2012

Young stem cells slow down aging

The introduction of prematurely aging mice with progenitor cells isolated from the muscle tissue of young healthy animals improved their health and increased life expectancy by 2-3 times.

The results of earlier studies have shown that all tissues of an aging organism are characterized by disorders of stem cell functions, such as defective replication and differentiation. However, scientists have not been able to determine what is the cause and what is the effect: loss of stem cell functionality or the aging process.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, working under the guidance of Professor Laura Niedernhofer, analyzed the state of a population of progenitor stem cells isolated from the muscle tissue of mice with simulated progeria, a disease that causes premature aging. Compared with cells of normal animals, the analyzed population was characterized by small numbers, low replication rate, deterioration of the ability to differentiate into specialized cells and a decrease in the ability to regenerate muscle tissue damage. Similar disorders were also found in the study of cells isolated from the muscle tissue of very old mice.

The researchers injected stem cells isolated from the muscle tissue of young healthy animals into the abdominal cavity of mice with progeria who reached the age of 17 days. Typically, the lifespan of mice with progeria is 21-28 days. The introduction of young cells increased this indicator by 2-3 times, while the life expectancy of some animals exceeded 66 days. Such longevity was also accompanied by a significant improvement in overall health.

As mice with progeria age, atrophy of the muscle tissue of the hind legs is observed, which is manifested by stooping, trembling and slow awkward gait. With the introduction of young stem cells before the onset of aging symptoms, mice with progeria looked almost normal and grew to almost normal size. Analysis of their tissues revealed the growth of new blood vessels in brain tissue and muscle tissue, even though no donor progenitor cells were found in these tissues that did not go beyond the abdominal cavity of the animals.

This fact indicates the existence of secretory factors secreted by stem cells that can rejuvenate the entire body. To obtain additional evidence for this assumption, the researchers cultured young stem cells in close proximity to the stem cells of animals with progeria, but in the absence of direct contact with them. The result was an improvement in the functioning of prematurely aged stem cells.

According to the authors, the introduction of young stem cells did not lead to a complete cure of prematurely aging mice, but the results suggest serious thoughts. Perhaps in the future they will form the basis of life extension methods by introducing stem cells or compounds synthesized by them.

Article by Mitra Lavasani et al. Muscle-derived stem/progenitor cell dysfunction limits healthspan and lifespan in a murine progeria model published in the journal Nature Communications.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on the materials of the University of Pittsburgh:
A Shot of Young Stem Cells Made Rapidly Aging Mice Live Longer and Healthier, Pitt Team Says.


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