Sometimes it baffles scientists how steadily our bodies age throughout the passage of time. It occurs way faster we might expect sometimes. There might be various reasons for the slowing down or becoming fast of the raging process.
So, we often do our best to try to slow down or “cheat” the aging process using a relatively wider range of “therapies,” from refining our dietary habits to enduring plastic surgery.
Stem cells are found in a place in our brains called hypothalamus and they might play a vital role in how fast and slow we age.
Dr. Dongsheng Cai, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City, NY, with his team of specialists, has discovered that adding fresh stem cells to the hypothalamus might be effective if you want to delay aging.
The results of this study are published in the current issue of Nature.
‘Decline of Stem Cell, Naturally’
Previous research conducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine had already indicated that the hypothalamus plays a critical role in controlling the aging process.
Dr. Cai and his team are now able to find the specific cells that are conscientious for the aging process: neural stem cells also involved in neurogenesis – that is, the formation of brand new brain neurons.
The researchers distinguished that the quantity of brain stem cells in the hypothalamus progressively declines with time, and this influences the rapidity at which the aging process proceeds. However, they add that their study has shown that the speed of process can be reduced.
” Our research shows that the number of hypothalamic neural stem cells naturally declines over the life of the animal, and this decline accelerates aging. But we also found that […] [b]y replenishing these stem cells or the molecules they produce, it’s possible to slow and even reverse various aspects of aging throughout the body.”
In their study, the researchers experimented on mice to test the function of neural stem cells. They observed that the quantity of stem cells in mice’s hypothalamus began to decay at around 10 months old, which, rendering to the scientists, is long before aging becomes evident.
“By old age – about 2 years of age in mice – most of those [stem] cells were gone,” notes Dr. Cai.
Supplementary stem cells contribute to slow aging
The subsequent step in the analysis was to experiment for the cause of aging, rather than just correlation, between declining numbers of neural stem cells and the inception of the aging process.
To do this, the scientists selectively disordered the related stem cells in middle-aged mice. They detected that, in these mice, onset of aging was much faster than in the controlled specimens, whose neural stem cells were not manipulated.
“This disruption greatly accelerated aging compared with control mice, and those animals with disrupted stem cells died earlier than normal,” says Dr. Cai.
Finally, the researchers wanted to figure out whether introducing a “fresh supply” of stem cells to the hypothalamus could slow down the aging progression.
They introduced brand new stem cells both into the hypothalami of the mice whose stem cells had been disordered, and into those of regular, well middle-aged mice.
Dr. Cai and his coworkers established that this action was quite fruitful: in all the mice, the aging procedure was either reduced down, or different aspects of aging were countered altogether.
What happens, the researchers concluded, is that the stem cells discharge microRNAs (miRNAs), which are a type of particle(molecule) convoluted in the directive of gene expression.