As human lifespan increases, a greater fraction of the population is suffering from age-related cognitive impairments, making it important to elucidate a means to combat the effects of aging. Here we report that exposure of an aged animal to young blood can counteract and reverse pre-existing effects of brain aging at the molecular, structural, functional and cognitive level. Genome-wide microarray analysis of heterochronic parabionts--in which circulatory systems of young and aged animals are connected--identified synaptic plasticity-related transcriptional changes in the hippocampus of aged mice. Dendritic spine density of mature neurons increased and synaptic plasticity improved in the hippocampus of aged heterochronic parabionts. At the cognitive level, systemic administration of young blood plasma into aged mice improved age-related cognitive impairments in both contextual fear conditioning and spatial learning and memory. Structural and cognitive enhancements elicited by exposure to young blood are mediated, in part, by activation of the cyclic AMP response element binding protein (Creb) in the aged hippocampus. Our data indicate that exposure of aged mice to young blood late in life is capable of rejuvenating synaptic plasticity and improving cognitive function.Nat Med. 2014 Jun;20(6):659-63. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24793238
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Stem Cell Research Updates
To assess in multiple sclerosis (MS) the effect of intense immunosuppression followed by autologous hematopoietic stem cells transplantation (AHSCT) vs mitoxantrone (MTX) on disease activity measured by MRI.
We conducted a multicenter, phase II, randomized trial including patients with secondary progressive or relapsing-remitting MS, with a documented increase in the last year on the Expanded Disability Status Scale, in spite of conventional therapy, and presence of one or more gadolinium-enhancing (Gd+) areas. Patients were randomized to receive intense immunosuppression (mobilization with cyclophosphamide and filgrastim, conditioning with carmustine, cytosine-arabinoside, etoposide, melphalan, and anti-thymocyte globulin) followed by AHSCT or MTX 20 mg every month for 6 months. The primary endpoint was the cumulative number of new T2 lesions in the 4 years following randomization. Secondary endpoints were the cumulative number of Gd+ lesions, relapse rate, and disability progression. Safety and tolerability were also assessed. Twenty-one patients were randomized and 17 had postbaseline evaluable MRI scans.
AHSCT reduced by 79% the number of new T2 lesions as compared to MTX (rate ratio 0.21, p = 0.00016). It also reduced Gd+ lesions as well as the annualized relapse rate. No difference was found in the progression of disability.
Intense immunosuppression followed by AHSCT is significantly superior to MTX in reducing MRI activity in severe cases of MS. These results strongly support further phase III studies with primary clinical endpoints.Neurology. 2015 Mar 10;84(10):981-8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25672923
Bone marrow-derived stem cells may modulate renal injury, but the effects may depend on the age of the stem cells. Here we investigated whether bone marrow from young mice attenuates renal aging in old mice. We radiated female 12-mo-old 129SvJ mice and reconstituted them with bone marrow cells (BMC) from either 8-wk-old (young-to-old) or 12-mo-old (old-to-old) male mice. Transfer of young BMC resulted in markedly decreased deposition of collagen IV in the mesangium and less β-galactosidase staining, an indicator of cell senescence. These changes paralleled reduced expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), PDGF-B (PDGF-B), the transdifferentiation marker fibroblast-specific protein-1 (FSP-1), and senescence-associated p16 and p21.
Tubulointerstitial and Glomerular Cells
Tubulointerstitial and glomerular cells derived from the transplanted BMC did not show β-galactosidase activity, but after 6 mo, there were more FSP-1-expressing bone marrow-derived cells in old-to-old mice compared with young-to-old mice. Young-to-old mice also exhibited higher expression of the anti-aging gene Klotho and less phosphorylation of IGF-1 receptor β. Taken together, these data suggest that young bone marrow-derived cells can alleviate renal aging in old mice. Direct parenchymal reconstitution by stem cells, paracrine effects from adjacent cells, and circulating anti-aging molecules may mediate the aging of the kidney.J Am Soc Nephrol. 2011 Nov;22(11):2028-36. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21965376
Front Genet. 2013 Aug 7;4:144. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23967009
Tissue Eng. 2005 May-Jun;11(5-6):663-73. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15998208