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The immune system's youth fountain

The immune system's youth fountain

Medication eliminates aging cells from the tissue of old mice. Blue staining shows aging cells in lung and liver tissue. The amount of staining is significantly reduced after medication. Credit: Weizmann Scientific Institute

If we could keep our bodies young, healthy and energetic, even if we have achieved the wisdom of the years. According to a new study by the Weizmann Science Institute, this dream is at least partly accessible in the future. The results of the research led by Professor Valery Krizhanovsky and Dr. Ovadya Yossi at the Molecular Cell Biology Department have recently been published Nature Communications.

Research began with the involvement of the immune system in a decisive action: removing old, aging cells that get into the body when they go around. Aging cells, which are not completely dead but suffer from function or irreparable damage, are affected by aging diseases associated with the promotion of inflammation. The researchers used mice in which the determining gene for immunoactivity was absent. For two years (elderly, mice), the bodies of these mice accumulated higher aging cells than the mice in which the gene for cell removal is intact. Mice lacking the gene suffered from chronic inflammation, and the different functions of their body seem to be reduced. They looked older – and they died earlier – than their usual counterparts.

The researchers then gave the mice a drug that inhibits the function of certain proteins that help the aging cells to survive in their aging state, to find out if it contributes to the removal of these cells from the body. The drugs have been given to mice whose aging is due to defective functioning detected in the immune system and to those whose early aging is due to other genetic defects. Treated mice responded exceptionally well to their drug: their blood tests and activity testers improved, and their tissues were much closer to the young mice. Scientists counted aging cells, and many found less in the body of treated mice, and when they were looking for signs of inflammation, it was found to be significantly lower. Drug-treated mice are more active and have a median lifetime.

Scientists still want to examine the human body to remove old aging cells, especially to find the means to activate the immune system. If future experiments prove the theories are correct, they can really create "anti-aging" therapies.

Further information:
Senolytic drugs reverse the damage caused by aging cells in mice

More information:
Yossi Ovadya et al., An injured immune system accelerates the accumulation of aging cells and aging, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-018-07825-3

Journal reference:
Nature Communications

Provided by:
Weizmann Scientific Institute

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