Skip to main content

When I first saw this study, I couldn’t help but think of Elizabeth Bathory for some reason, but mostly because this sounds like something from a medieval fiction novel. Recently, a study was published that shows how the blood of the youth could help to keep the old youthful, for longer.

The study was published in Nature Aging, and to carry it out they studied extracellular vesicles or EVs. EVs deliver genetic instructions for longevity proteins that are called “Klotho.” Klothos are delivered to muscular cells, and what the researchers discovered was that as mice age, their muscles become weaker, and their cognition begins to decline.

Additionally, their EVs become weaker. To test things out, they used the blood from younger mice and transfused older mice with it. And when they did this, they found that the older cells became more youthful, and it became easier for them to repair themselves. When the more youthful EVs were removed from their blood, the results fade.

Such information could help us to understand more about aging, and how our cells lose their ability to renew themselves as we age. Additionally, it could provide experts with a useful way to prolong aging.

“We’re excited about this research for a couple of reasons,” explained the senior author, Fabrisia Ambrosia, Ph.D. and director of rehabilitation for UPMC International and associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Pitt. “In one way, it helps us understand the basic biology of how muscle regeneration works and how it fails to work as we age. Then, taking that information to the next step, we can think about using extracellular vesicles as therapeutics to counteract these age-related defects.”

This new research only builds on current research that supports youthful features and cells being restored with EVs were introduced from a more youthful mouse. “We wondered if extracellular vesicles might contribute to muscle regeneration because these couriers travel between cells via the blood and other bodily fluids,” said lead author Amrita Sahu, Ph.D. “Like a message in a bottle, EVs deliver information to target cells.”