Stemming the March of Time: Young stem cells extend the life of aging mice.
• Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into just about any kind of mature cell type. Although it was known that stem cells from aged animals grew slowly and poorly, it was not clear if this was a consequence or cause of aging.
• A study by University of Pittsburgh researchers just published in Nature Communications showed that aging could be dramatically slowed down in mice engineered to have Progeria, a rare genetic condition of premature aging in humans.
• “We wanted to see if we could rescue these rapidly aging animals, so we injected stem/progenitor cells from young, healthy mice into the abdomens of 17-day-old progeria mice,” Dr. Huard said. “Typically the progeria mice die at around 21 to 28 days of age, but the treated animals lived far longer — some even lived beyond 66 days. They also were in better general health.”
• Surprisingly, although the stem cells did not migrate far from the site of injection, new blood vessels developed in the brain and muscle suggesting that the stem cells secrete factors that could affect development at sites far from their location. The hunt is on for the molecules or chemicals secreted by these stem cells!
• Read more: Muscle-derived stem/progenitor cell dysfunction limits healthspan and lifespan in a murine progeria model. Nature Communications , 2012; 3: 608 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1611