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Blood from Young Mice makes Old Mice Younger

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Jul 14, 2010
4 years ago, Ripclaw made this thread:


Now, 4 years later, a scientific update:


In the 1950s, Clive M. McCay of Cornell University and his colleagues tested the notion by delivering the blood of young rats into old ones. To do so, they joined rats in pairs by stitching together the skin on their flanks. After this procedure, called parabiosis, blood vessels grew and joined the rats’ circulatory systems. The blood from the young rat flowed into the old one, and vice versa.

Later, Dr. McCay and his colleagues performed necropsies and found that the cartilage of the old rats looked more youthful than it would have otherwise. But the scientists could not say how the transformations happened. There was not enough known at the time about how the body rejuvenates itself.

It later became clear that stem cells are essential for keeping tissues vital. When tissues are damaged, stem cells move in and produce new cells to replace the dying ones. As people get older, their stem cells gradually falter.

In the early 2000s, scientists realized that stem cells were not dying off in aging tissues.

“There were plenty of stem cells there,” recalled Thomas A. Rando, a professor of neurology at Stanford University School of Medicine. “They just don’t get the right signals.”

Dr. Rando and his colleagues wondered what signals the old stem cells would receive if they were bathed in young blood. To find out, they revived Dr. McCay’s experiments.

The scientists joined old and young mice for five weeks and then examined them. The muscles of the old mice had healed about as quickly as those of the young mice, the scientists reported in 2005. In addition, the old mice had grown new liver cells at a youthful rate.

The young mice, on the other hand, had effectively grown prematurely old. Their muscles had healed more slowly, and their stem cells had not turned into new cells as quickly as they had before the procedure.

The experiment indicated that there were compounds in the blood of the young mice that could awaken old stem cells and rejuvenate aging tissue. Likewise, the blood of the old mice had compounds that dampened the resilience of the young mice.

At Stanford, researchers were investigating whether the blood of young mice altered the brains of old mice. In 2011, Saul Villeda, then a graduate student, and his colleagues reported that it did. When old mice received young blood, they had a burst of new neurons in the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is crucial for forming memories.

In a study published Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine, Dr. Villeda, now a faculty fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, and his colleagues unveiled more details of what young blood does to the brains of old mice.

After parabiosis, Dr. Villeda and his colleagues found that the neurons in the hippocampus of the old mice sprouted new connections. They then moved beyond parabiosis by removing the cells and platelets from the blood of young mice and injecting the plasma that remained into old mice. That injection caused the old mice to perform far better on memory tests.

Dr. Wagers’s team has been investigating a specific region of the brain involved in perceiving smells.

In a second study in Science, the team reported that parabiosis spurred the growth of blood vessels in the brain. The new blood supply led to the growth of neurons and gave older mice a sharper sense of smell.

After linking the GDF11 protein to the rejuvenation of skeletal muscle and the heart, Dr. Wagers and her colleagues studied whether the protein was also responsible for the changes in the brain. They injected GDF11 alone into the mice and found that it spurred the growth of blood vessels and neurons in the brain, although the change was not as large as that from parabiosis.

“There’s no conflict between the two groups, which is heartening,” said Dr. Richard M. Ransohoff, director of the Neuroinflammation Research Center at the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Ransohoff and others hope the experiments on mice will lead to studies on people to see if the human version of GDF11, or other molecules in the blood of young people, has a similar effect on older adults.

One wonders when such things will done via "cutting edge" organ markets between the rich and poor....


Dec 7, 2008
You all know what this means, right? Now we're going to have vampire mice running around sucking each others' blood to stay forever young. And the cats will eat the mice and start to figure it out, and then we'll have vampire cats. And any cat owner will tell you how little value cats place on human life, so guess who they're gonna feed on?

Thanks Obama!


Apr 12, 2007



Feb 9, 2014
Short version: Doped old mice are more clever and faster/stronger

The future, it's coming. Addicted mice, everywhere.


Jun 7, 2004
If I were to design a biological system for longevity...

I'd put stem cells in a special organ that was specifically shielded from free radicals, that would dramatically reduce the reproduction rate of those cells (basically cryostasis), that the body could retrieve from occasionally to refresh the cellular information in the body.

Maybe something that's achievable with nano-bots?


Sep 13, 2011
Aberystwyth, Wales
I talk to my sister - a biochemist - about life extension a lot. She always maintains that there is a very important thing to consider about studies which were done on mice, worms, yeast etc. That is that human beings are far larger and more complex than simpler lifeforms. Even though it is encouraging to see promising research in this field, the effects of life extension on humans will probably be less exciting than seen even in mice.
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