As they say, we grow old. That is a natural biological process that we must undergo. We can certainly delay it, but there will come a time where we have to rest because of our old frail bodies.
For such a long time, a lot of researchers want to unlock more years. In other words, they want to come up with something that would allow us to live our lives in a productive manner for years as opposed to confining ourselves in a chair or something.
Adult mice manufacture new neurons in a couple of key locations, including the subventricular zone of the forebrain and the hippocampus. One part of the brain- the hypothalamus– is believed to play a crucial role in aging and has also been found to create new neural stem cells as well.
A study that was published in Nature Science Magazine, Dongsheng Cai and his colleagues at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have tried to connect the dots linking both of the previous observations. They’ve reported that the neural stem cells that are found in the hypothalamus may have widespread implications that can have a profound impact on the rate of aging in mice.
The study was no small feat, according to David Sinclair, who closely studies aging and its effects at Harvard Medical School. Cai and his team made a remarkable discovery that may play a huge role in our understanding of aging.
Cai and his team found out that if you kill off hypothalamic neural stem cells in the brains of mice, it then accelerates the aging process. However, if you supply new neural stem cells through transplantation, it would have the reverse effect in that it slows down the aging process.
Moreover, the anti-aging effects of the stem cells can easily be replicated by administering exosomes. These things contain microRNAs that are responsible for delaying the aging cycle.
Sinclair says that if the effects of doing this procedure are the same as that in mice, then we could finally have a way to help us keep that youthful glow for longer and the process of doing so can be easily reproducible.
In 2013, the researchers first confirmed whether there is a difference in the number of neural stem cells in young mice than in their middle-aged to older mice counterparts.
Then, they destroyed the neural stem cells that are found in the Hypothalamus of the mice by injecting the third ventricle just adjacent to the region of the hypothalamus where the stem cells are originally found.
After a couple of months, the mice were tested for their physical and mental abilities and the researchers found out that the mice who lost a lot of neural stem cells actually aged much faster than those who didn’t have their stem cells affected.
However, keep in mind that neural stem cells help save us from rapid aging, not through the way we initially thought. It was found that exosomes that contain RNA and a host of special proteins were the ones responsible for delaying the aging process.
Studies would have to be made on human subjects, but hopefully, we can find a cure that would help delay aging.