Fountain of Life Found? Old Mice Revived by Human Teenager's Blood
Could it be that the long search for the Fountain of Youth is already over? The fountain that we thought to be more like a spring that can automatically change an old person into a young one may probably be coming from us, specifically in our own stream of life -- our blood. In a recent study conducted by Alkahest, a California-based biopharmaceutical company, they found that a component of the human blood, the plasma, has significantly played a role in rejuvenating old mice.
In 2014, several studies were conducted using the blood plasma in old mice. Based on findings of the clinical tests, they observed that old mice injected with blood plasma of younger mice had better cognition and strength compared with their control group. These results have sparked the interest of different experts in exploring blood plasma for rejuvenation.
Alkahest's study, which was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego last week, used human plasma in old mice. By collecting plasma from healthy 18-year-old humans, they tried injecting them to 12-month-old mice, which are more or less 50 years old if translated into human years. Based on their tests, the old mice injected with plasma became more active and seen to have improved memory.
"We see a rejuvenation effect. Young human plasma improves cognition. Their memory was preserved," Sakura Minami said, who is one of Alkahest's researchers.
According to Karoly Nikolich, a neuroscientist and the founder of Alkahest, the rejuvenating effect of plasma is due to the proteins found in it. Younger plasma has essential proteins that help in restoring body strength and in cell and tissue repair. But as plasma grows old, these proteins deteriorate too, getting replaced by proteins that are inflammatory and cause damage. "We have, actually, now for the first time discovered that there are hundreds of proteins that change with aging," Nikolich mentioned in one of her interviews.
The discovery of the effect of human plasma on old mice is just the first few steps in exploring possible innovations in neuroscience. The results of this test will be soon available before the year ends, and the researchers are hoping that the findings can help them in developing similar proteins of blood plasma to cure neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.