Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Young Blood helps treat symptoms of aging

  1. May 6, 2014 #1
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. May 6, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2017 Award

    Here's a link to the two studies published in Science to which the news article refers:

    Vascular and Neurogenic Rejuvenation of the Aging Mouse Brain by Young Systemic Factors

    Restoring Systemic GDF11 Levels Reverses Age-Related Dysfunction in Mouse Skeletal Muscle

    With regard to your question, there are many biological factors that contribute to aging, and damage to DNA is only one of many factors. For example, a comprehensive http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2013.05.039 [Broken] of research into the biological causes of aging identifies nine factors that contribute to aging: genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intercellular communication. There are likely additional factors that we still need to discover.

    Each of these factors contribute to aging in different ways. For example, genomic instability and loss of proteostasis contribute to aging-related diseases (cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, etc.) whereas other facotrs like cellular senescence and stem cell exhaustion contribute to some symptoms of aging like lowered ability to recover from injuries.

    The particular types of aging that the young blood treatments seem to be reversing (age-related declines in muscle function and cognitive abilities) seem more related to cellular senesence and stem cell exhaustion than DNA damage. Thus, the young blood may be revering aging by reactivating senescent cells and/or stem cells in the body without addressing other causes of aging like DNA damage or proteostasis.

    However, when you mention damage to chromosomes that occurs during DNA replication, it sounds like you are referring to telomeres, specialized structures at the ends of chromosomes that get eroded with each round of DNA replication. This erosion sets a limit on the number of times cells can divide and contributes to aging. The body, however, contains an enzyme called telomerase capable of extending the telomeres of cells. It's possible that young blood contains signalling factors that can help old cells activate telomerase and extend their telomeres. (For technical reasons, it is unlikely that telomere erosion is contributing to the types of aging examined in the mice studies. Lab mice have unusually long telomeres, such that even mice lacking telomerase can be bred for a couple of generations before telomere erosion starts causing premature aging in the animals.)

    Of course, much more research is needed into figuring out the identity of all the rejuvenating factors in young blood and characterizing their effects on cells at the molecular level (which signalling pathways do the factors activate, which genes get turned on and off, etc.), before we can definitively say anything about which causes of aging young blood can reverse and which causes of aging it does not affect.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads - Young Blood helps Date
Why doesn't blood dry inside our bodies? Monday at 10:42 AM
Medical Use of statins at very young age May 10, 2010
Medical Need Help For A Novel - Terminal Illness For Young Man Mar 1, 2010
How do cougars raise their young Oct 25, 2006
Young pregnancy May 2, 2005