Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING
JIB
BioConferenceLive

Rapidly Aging Mice Given Boost of Young Stem Cells Live Longer, Healthier

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 23 Jan 2012
Laboratory mice bred to age rapidly appear to have grown younger after investigators injected them with stem cell-like progenitor cells derived from the muscle of young, healthy animals. Instead of becoming ill and dying early as the control mice did, animals that received the stem/progenitor cells improved their health and lived two to three times longer than expected.

These findings were published in the January 3, 2012, issue of the journal Nature Communications. Earlier studies have shown stem cell dysfunction, such as poor replication and differentiation, in a variety of tissues in old age, but it is not been determined whether that loss of function contributed to the aging process or was a result of it, explained senior investigators Johnny Huard, PhD, and Laura Niedernhofer, MD, PhD.

Dr. Huard is professor in the departments of orthopedic surgery and of microbiology and molecular genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (Pitt; PA, USA), and director of the Stem Cell Research Center at Pitt and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Dr. Niedernhofer is associate professor in Pitt’s department of microbiology and molecular genetics and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI).

“Our experiments showed that mice that have progeria, a disorder of premature aging, were healthier and lived longer after an injection of stem cells from young, healthy animals,” Dr. Niedernhofer said. “That tells us that stem cell dysfunction is a cause of the changes we see with aging.”

The scientists studied a stem/progenitor cell population originated from the muscle of progeria mice and discovered that compared to those from normal rodents, the cells were fewer in number, did not replicate as frequently, did not differentiate as freely into specialized cells and were impaired in their ability to regenerate damaged muscle. The same defects were discovered in the stem/progenitor cells isolated from very old mice.

“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.”

As the progeria mice age, they lose muscle mass in their hind limbs, hunch over, tremble, and move slowly and awkwardly. Affected mice that got a shot of stem cells just before showing the first signs of aging were more like healthy mice, and they grew almost as large. More comprehensive examination showed new blood vessel growth in the brain and muscle, even though the stem/progenitor cells were not detected in those tissues.

In fact, the cells did not migrate to any specific tissue after injection into the abdomen. “This leads us to think that healthy cells secrete factors to create an environment that help correct the dysfunction present in the native stem cell population and aged tissue,” Dr. Niedernhofer said. “In a culture dish experiment, we put young stem cells close to, but not touching, progeria stem cells, and the unhealthy cells functionally improved.”

Animals that age normally were not treated with stem/progenitor cells, but the provocative findings urge further research, she added. They speculate that it might be possible one day to suppress the biologic deteriorations associated with aging by delivering a shot of youthful vigor, especially if specific rejuvenating proteins or molecules generated by the stem cells could be identified and isolated.

Related Links:
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


comments powered by Disqus

Channels

Genomics/Proteomics

view channel
Image: Microcomputed tomography images (top) and histology images (bottom) of the knees of mice fed a very high fat diet containing omega-3 fatty acid supplement (left) or only omega-6 fatty acids (right) after a knee injury. The omega-6 diet showed abnormal bone remodeling and calcified tissue formation in the joint (white arrow). The omega-6 diet also showed significant loss of cartilage (red staining, yellow arrowhead) and increased joint inflammation (Photo courtesy of Duke University).

Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acids Moderate Severity of Osteoarthritis in a Mouse Model

Researchers working with an osteoarthritis (OA) obese mouse model found that the fat content of the animals' diet contributed more to the development or arrest of OA than did body weight.... Read more

Drug Discovery

view channel
Image: Molecular rendering of the crystal structure of parkin (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Cinnamon Feeding Blocks Development of Parkinson's Disease in Mouse Model

A team of neurological researchers has identified a molecular mechanism by which cinnamon acts to protect neurons from damage caused by Parkinson's disease (PD) in a mouse model of the syndrome.... Read more

Therapeutics

view channel

Vaccine Being Developed for Heart Disease Close to Reality

The world’s first vaccine for heart disease is becoming a possibility with researchers demonstrating significant arterial plaque reduction in concept testing in mice. Klaus Ley, MD, from the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LA Jolla, CA, USA), and a vascular immunology specialist, is leading the vaccine... Read more

Business

view channel

A Surge in IPOs Revitalize Investments for the Global Pharma and Biotech

Anti-infective drugs, oncology, and pharmaceutical contract laboratories attract the most investment up to now. The intensified private equity and venture capital (PEVC) deal activity in the global healthcare industry during the recession years, 2008–2010, witnessed a waning post-2010. However, the decline in deals... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.