New research has found that the blood of the young could help play a role in rejuvenating aging muscle, in effect keeping the body stay young.
The new study, published on Monday in the respected scientific journal Nature Aging, found that particles in mouse blood called extracellular vesicles, or EVs, deliver genetic instructions for the longevity protein called “Klotho” to muscle cells. The researchers found that while mice age – with their muscle functions weakening, cognition declining, and ability to repair muscle slowing down – the EVs also become weaker.
When the older mice were transfused with the blood of younger mice, their cells and tissues took on more youthful features including the ability to regenerate muscle. However, these effects faded when the EVs were removed from the blood.
The findings could help advance our understanding as to why the ability of our muscles to regenerate diminishes with age. It could also help play a role in ongoing medical attempts to prolong or delay the aging process for humans.
“We’re really excited about this research for a couple of reasons,” said the study’s senior author Fabrisia Ambrosio, an associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh.
“In one way, it helps us understand the basic biology of how muscle regeneration works and how it fails to work as we age,” Ambrosio added. “Then, taking that information to the next step, we can think about using extracellular vesicles as therapeutics to counteract these age-related defects.”
However, it still remains largely unclear whether these effects could translate to humans.
This isn’t the first study into the effects of blood transfusions to reverse aging. In 2016, venture-capitalist billionaire Peter Thiel revealed his interest in parabiosis, or the practice of older people getting transfusions of blood from the young.
It was also revealed that there were a number of rumors regarding a growing interest among Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs in parabiosis, and that wealthy tech elites were experimenting with the as-yet-unproven practice of getting infusions from the young.
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