A “jaw-dropping” breakthrough in aging research has been made by scientists. The researchers were able to reverse brain aging in mice by years, if not decades.
Scientists have revealed that the same blood factor is responsible for the cognitive boost associated with exercise, youthful blood transfusion, and the longevity hormone klotho, in a surprising convergence.
Three research from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the University of Queensland in Australia led to this astounding discovery.
The transformation observed in the laboratory mice was attributed to PF4, a protein that is naturally present in the bloodstream.
When administered to older mice, the scientists observed a restoration of cognitive sharpness comparable to their middle age. Among younger mice, the protein substantially boosted their intelligence.
The researchers gauged the impacts of PH4 on older mice, about two years old, which can be equated to a human age of approximately 70 years. Astonishingly, the cognitive faculties of these mice were rejuvenated to levels equivalent to 30 or 40-year-old humans.
The role of PF4 in anti-aging therapy
Inflammation is a major factor in both brain and body aging. It indicates that PF4, a platelet-derived blood cell, plays an important role in reducing inflammation by influencing the immunological response.
The researchers utilized a variety of methods to increase the amount of PF4 in the body. Blood transfusions from younger to older mice, physical training, and, most intriguingly, the influence of klotho, a gene intricately implicated in the aging process, were all used.
Rejuvenation of the mind
Saul Villeda, the study’s principal author, is the associate director of the UCSF Bakar Aging Research Institute.
“Young blood, klotho, and exercise can all send a message to your brain saying, ‘Hey, improve your function.'” “With PF4, we’re beginning to understand the vocabulary behind this revitalization,” Villeda added.
More investigation is required.
Further research is required, as with any scientific breakthrough. Questions remain, particularly about the potential consequences of influencing the immune system in this way, including the implications for our disease-fighting capacities.
Nonetheless, the investigations have yielded surprising results. In one study, mice given PF4 injections showed reversed aging and better brain function, which was linked to a suppressed immunological response in their brains and bodies. As a result, memory and learning results improved.
Immune factors that cause premature aging
“PF4 actually makes the immune system look younger; it reduces all of these active pro-aging immune factors, resulting in a brain with less inflammation, more plasticity, and, eventually, more cognition,” Villeda explained.
“We’re taking 22-month-old mice, which are equivalent to humans in their 70s, and PF4 is bringing them back to function closer to their late 30s, early 40s.”
Another study discovered that introducing klotho stimulated the body’s production of PF4, which had a significant impact on reversed aging in the brain, particularly in the regions directing memory formation.
Tara Walker, the study’s principal author from the University of Queensland, discovered that platelets released PF4 into the bloodstream after exercise. When she examined PF4 on its own, as Dubal and Villeda had done, she discovered that it improved cognition in old animals.
Dr. Dena Dubal, a neurology professor at UCSF, noted the amazing convergence of these results.
“Our jaws dropped when we realized we had independently and coincidentally discovered the same thing.” “The fact that three different interventions converged on platelet factors demonstrates the validity and reproducibility of this biology,” Dr. Dubai stated. “The time has come to pursue platelet factors in brain health and cognitive enhancement.”
“Many people with health conditions, mobility issues, or advanced age are unable to exercise, so pharmacological intervention is an important area of research,” Walker said. “We can now target platelets to promote neurogenesis, enhance cognition, and counteract age-related cognitive decline.”
More about PF4
Platelet Factor 4 (PF4) is a minor cytokine that belongs to the CXC chemokine family and is largely related with platelets. While the studies focused on its ability to reverse the effects of aging in the brain, PF4 is better known for other role.
Origin and structure
Platelets create PF4 and store it in their alpha granules. When platelets are activated, it is released in enormous numbers.
Role in coagulation
PF4 is involved in blood coagulation and clot formation. It has the ability to attach to heparin, negating its anticoagulant effects. This characteristic is clinically important, particularly in diseases such as heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT).
In HIT, the combination produced by heparin and PF4 can activate platelets, leading in blood vessel clot formation.
PF4 has chemotactic properties for neutrophils and monocytes, which means it can attract these immune cells to locations of damage or inflammation. As a result, it is a critical component of the body’s immune response.
Interaction with tumors
According to certain research, PF4 may have an inhibiting effect on tumor growth. It has been proposed that the protein may block angiogenesis (the development of new blood vessels), which is essential for tumor growth.
Potential therapeutic uses
PF4 has been studied for a variety of medicinal purposes, including as a possible drug to suppress angiogenesis in tumors and as a marker to detect and diagnose illnesses such as HIT.