Scientists reverse ageing in elderly mice by rejuvenating their tissues
Scientists at the Salk Institute, US have shown they can safely and effectively reverse the ageing process in middle-aged and elderly mice by partially resetting their cells to more youthful states. Cells isolated from older people or animals have different patterns of chemicals along their DNA, called epigenetic markers, compared to younger people or animals. By adding a mixture of four reprogramming molecules (Oct4, Sox2, Klf4 and cMyc, also known as “Yamanaka factors”) to cells can reset these epigenetic marks to their original patterns. This approach is how researchers can dial back adult cells, developmentally speaking, into stem cells.
In the study, which was published in Nature Aging, the scientists tested variations of the cellular rejuvenation approach in healthy animals as they aged. One group of mice received regular doses of the Yamanaka factors from the time they were 15 months old until 22 months, approximately equivalent to age 50 through 70 in humans. Another group was treated from 12 through 22 months, approximately age 35 to 70 in humans. A third group was treated for just one month at age 25 months, like age 80 in humans.
The experts noted that in mice that participated in the experiment longer, the process of cell aging was reversed, no pathologies were observed. At the same time, the body of such mice began to produce less collagen. This helped the wounds heal faster, which is typical for young rodents.