A new study from the University of California, Berkeley, found that older mice developed new muscle fibers and began to reverse aging after undergoing a procedure to dilute the plasma.
At Berkeley, researchers have shown in a new study that age reversal effects can be achieved by diluting the blood plasma of old mice, without the need for young blood (which produced similar effects in previous studies).
In the study, the team began diluting the blood plasma of aged mice by replacing and 50% with a mixture of saline and alumina. The albumin simply replaced the lost proteins with the removal of the plasma. The result? Rejuvenation with effects on the brain, liver and muscles.
This discovery moves i dominant models to reverse aging from using young blood to removing potentially harmful aging factors from the blood.
Two hypotheses from the discovery that diluting blood rejuvenates mice
The first is that, in mice, rejuvenation is due to young blood carrying proteins and factors that decrease with aging. The second, equally possible, is that some proteins in the blood become harmful with age. Irina Conboy, professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley and first author of the study is certain. “As our science shows, the second interpretation is correct. Young blood is not necessary for the rejuvenating effect: it is sufficient to dilute the plasma. "
Two words about plasma
In humans, the composition of the blood plasma can be changed in a clinical procedure called therapeutic plasma exchange or plasmapheresis. It is a procedure currently approved by the FDA in the United States for the treatment of a variety of autoimmune diseases.
The research team is currently finalizing clinical trials to determine whether modified plasma exchange in humans can be used to improve the overall health of older people and to treat age-associated diseases that include muscle loss, neurodegeneration, type diabetes. 2 and immune imbalances.
The results of the study (which appears online in Aging magazine) may open the door to further research on the use of plasma exchange for both aging and immunomodulation.
The aging? Transient and reversible
In the early 2000s Irina Conboy and her husband and research partner Michael Conboy felt that our body's ability to regenerate damaged tissue remained alive even in old age with stem cells. Somehow, however, these cells would "shut down" with the biochemical changes due to aging.
“We had the idea that aging could be a lot more dynamic than people think,” Conboy said. “We thought it might be characterized by a transient and very reversible decline in regeneration. In short, a state that can be reversed by replacing deteriorated cells and tissues with healthy ones ".
After the Conboys published their groundbreaking first work in 2005, many researchers grasped the idea that specific proteins in young blood might be the key to unlocking the body's latent regenerative abilities.
However, in the original report and a more recent study, when blood was exchanged between young and old animals without physically joining them together, the young animals showed signs of aging. These results indicated that the "young" blood could not compete with the old one.
Dilute the plasma to reduce harmful proteins
As a result, the Conboys pursued the idea that a accumulation of certain proteins with age was the main inhibitor of tissue maintenance and repair, and that diluting these proteins with blood exchange could be a solution.
In short, an alternative and safer path: instead of adding proteins from young blood, dilute the old plasma.
To test this hypothesis, the Conboys and their colleagues came up with the idea of performing a "neutral" blood exchange. Instead of swapping the blood of a mouse for that of a younger animal, they would simply start diluting the blood plasma with a solution containing its most basic ingredients: saline and a protein called albumin.
"We thought, 'What if we had blood of neutral age, blood that is neither young nor old?'" He says Michael Conboy. Bingo.
After finding that neutral blood exchange significantly improved the health of the old mice, the team conducted a proteomic analysis of the animals' blood plasma to find out how the proteins in their blood changed following the procedure.
And dilute the plasma in humans?
The researchers performed a similar analysis on blood plasma from humans undergoing therapeutic plasma exchange.
They found that the plasma exchange process behaves almost like a molecular reset button. A "reset" button that lowers the concentration of pro-inflammatory proteins that increase with age, while allowing more beneficial proteins, such as those that promote vascularization, to rise in number.
"Some of these proteins are of particular interest and, in the future, we may consider them as further therapeutic and pharmacological candidates," said Conboy. “But I would like to warn against the illusions of having found an elixir of life. It is very unlikely that aging can be reversed by changes in any one protein alone. In our experiment, meanwhile, we found that we can do a simple, FDA-approved procedure that directs the levels of numerous proteins in the right direction. "
Therapeutic plasma exchange in humans lasts about 2-3 hours and has no or mild side effects.