Older mice rejuvenated by CSF infusion: possible elixir of life

Thanks to infusions of liquor from young mice, an international team of researchers has succeeded in rejuvenating the brains of older mice.

The cognitive abilities of old mice were enhanced by injections of cerebrospinal fluid from young mice. The result was very similar to real brain rejuvenation, which resulted in significantly better memory performance after the treatment. A similar result was obtained thanks to the infusion of a growth factor capable of enhancing the activity of oligodendrocytes, cells responsible for the production of myelin, the sheath that insulates and protects nerve cell fibers. The two experiments could lead to a real elixir of long youth, even if the research is still in the early stages and is mainly limited to tests on murine models (mice) that are not human and therefore not certain processes are reproducible.

The discovery that infusions of CSF from young mice can rejuvenate the brains of older mice was an international team of researchers led by American scientists from Stanford University School of Medicine, working closely with colleagues from the Department of Clinical Bioinformatics at Saarland University (Germany) , the Institute for Veterans Research in Palo Alto, the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and other research centers. The researchers, coordinated by Professor Tal Iram, professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at American University, focused on the cerebrospinal fluid because its composition changes with age and the differences we find to be real biomarkers of the disease can, Professor Iram clarified to Sciencealert. Cerebrospinal fluid, also known as CSF or cerebrospinal fluid, is a colorless fluid that permeates nerve tissue and plays a role of protection, blood circulation, nutrition, blood pressure regulation, etc.

To understand the potential of cerebrospinal fluid, scientists subjected aged mice to a series of experiments. First, they trained the rodents to walk through a maze in which glowing, or “sounding,” tiles on the floor gave mild electric shocks to the feet. In the next step, they divided the mice into two groups; the first was infused with liquor from very young mice aged just under ten weeks, the second served as a classic control group. In the third phase of the experiment, the old mice were put back into the maze with the “traps” and the scientists observed their behavior. It was found that mice that received CSF had a greater tendency to stop at shaky spots because they better remembered the negative past experience. Simply put, infusions of the liquid rejuvenated the brains of the memory-enhanced mice. How is it possible? As the study authors explain, younger CSF activated the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling pathway, which in turn led to chain events leading to the maturation and proliferation of oligodendrocytes in the hippocampus. ; The latter promoted neuronal signaling by producing more myelin and therefore improved the mice’s cognitive/mnemonic abilities.

As previously mentioned, Prof. Iram and colleagues achieved a similar result with the infusion of fibroblast growth factor 17 (Fgf17) alone, which is sufficient to trigger the positive chain that catalyzes myelin production by oligodendrocytes. Blocking this growth factor in young mice, on the other hand, had negative effects on their cognition. “This suggests that Fgf17 is not only able to elicit some of the beneficial effects of cerebrospinal fluid in juvenile mice, but it also appears to be necessary for a young brain to reach its full potential,” said the co- Study author at MedPage Today. Tony Wyss-Coray.

It is still too early to know if it will be possible to obtain an elixir capable of rejuvenating our brains from these experiments, but the path seems very promising. The research results “Young CSF restores oligodendrogenesis and memory in aged mice via Fgf17” were published in the authoritative journal Nature.

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