A team made up of, among others, Emmanuelle Passegué and Carl Mitchell, both from the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, in the city of New York, United States, has verified that young blood has a rejuvenating effect when introduced into bodies old: the heart beats more vigorously, muscles get stronger, and mental sharpness increases. The next logical step might be to look for components of young blood that can be extracted or replicated and put them into a pill.
But what if the best way to get the benefits of young blood was simply to rejuvenate your blood-producing system? For example, a 70-year-old person with a 40-year-old blood system might have a longer life expectancy. Rejuvenating the blood system of an older person might be feasible now, judging by the new study’s conclusions.
The research team conducted a comprehensive analysis of the stem cells that create all blood cells and the niches where they reside in the center of bones. The researchers found that when the niche gets old enough, it deteriorates and suffers from inflammation, and that’s a big part of what leads to blood stem cell malfunction. Acting on that niche is, therefore, a key strategy.
Passegué, Mitchell, and their colleagues have discovered that an anti-inflammatory drug, already approved for use in rheumatoid arthritis, can reverse some of the effects of age on the hematopoietic system of mice, effectively rejuvenating it. An inflammatory signal emitted by old bone marrow, IL-1B, was instrumental in driving the aging of blood stem cells. One drug, Anakinra, returned blood stem cells to a younger, healthier state. “These results indicate that such strategies hold promise for maintaining healthier blood production in the elderly”, says Mitchell.
The study is titled “Stromal Niche Inflammation Mediated by IL-1: Signaling is a targetable driver of haematopoietic aging”. And it has already been published in the academic journal Nature Cell Biology.