Middle-aged mice live about 10 to 15 percent longer and are healthier when they get an injection from the brain stem cells of newborn mice. Roselle Chen reports.
Middle-aged mice live healthier and longer lives, as long as they're injected with the hypothalamus stem cells of newborn mice. Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine discovered that the injected middle-aged mice had better muscle function and less age-related impairments than mice who were not treated. They also lived 10 to 15 percent longer. SOUNDBITE (English) DR. DONGSHENG CAI, NEUROENDOCRINOLOGIST AT ALBERT EINSTEIN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, SAYING: "When we injected the hypothalamus stem cells, which were derived from young mice, we injected them to the middle-aged mice and that was, in fact, to slow down aging. So the mouse aged slowly and they also increased their lifespan, which is longevity." Cai says his team's findings are remarkable because it helps scientists understand how we age and how much of aging is controlled by the hypothalamus. SOUNDBITE (English) DR. DONGSHENG CAI, NEUROENDOCRINOLOGIST AT ALBERT EINSTEIN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, SAYING: "It takes care of a lot of basic functions of life, such as growth, development, reproduction, sleep, eating, energy, balance, body temperature, blood pressure. All these basic fundamental aspects of life are controlled by the hypothalamus. So it's really in a leadership position. So when hypothalamus function is in decline, particularly the loss of hypothalamus stem cells, and this protection against the aging development is lost, it eventually leads to aging. Aging leads to inflammatory changes in the hypothalamus. This hypothalamus inflammation is very harmful for stem cells. Stem cells couldn't survive well under this aging associated hypothalamus inflammation. But compared to older mice, middle-aged mice are less severe in terms of hypothalamus inflammation. So when we injected cells during the middle ages, the cells had a better chance to survive." Looking forward, Cai says his study could help humans too. SOUNDBITE (English) DR. DONGSHENG CAI, NEUROENDOCRINOLOGIST AT ALBERT EINSTEIN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, SAYING: "I think humans can function better during a later stage of aging, say eighties, nineties, even hundreds, centenarians. So they could have better functions and their life quality could be better, more improved." Cai says his study focuses on health as opposed to living longer and his team will continue exploring furthering the health span in mice.