Neuroscience Across the Curriculum
Novermber 2, 2015
Young Blood for Old Brains
Last week, Dr. Wyss-Coray of the Stanford spoke to us about his recently published work in Nautre magazine that further explored past research revolving around the idea of parabiosis. Parabiosis techniques began with the surgical joining of old and young mice, and it was discovered that old muscle was able to be rejuvenated with attachment to the young mice. Subsequent studies were then able to determine that other tissues could achieve the same effect. Dr. Wyss-Coray then began thinking of applications of this parabiosis to aging. As we age, synapses prune, neurons die, and the stability of our genomes changes, as the ends of chromosomes shorted and methylation occurs. Given that blood connects all organs, Wyss-Coray and his team wanted to see how aging affected the brains without performing biopsies. To do this, he measured one hundred proteins of cellular language in an effort to find the signature of aging, or the correlates that commonly occur in aging mice. Among these correlates, were proteins associated with inflammation, such as CCL11 or Eotaxin. With this knowledge, the team then transferred plasma from young mice to old mice and found increased memory function and that some of the correlates of aging decreased, which seems to suggest that there is something about young blood that can lead to a decrease in aging. The experiment was then redone, but this time with human plasma into aged mice, that were specially made to accept human plasma. They were then able to note that the greatest changes were in levels of CAMIIK an and c-fos.