July 24, 2024

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Surgery Can Slow Cellular Aging and Extend Lifespan by Up to 10%

Surgery Can Slow Cellular Aging and Extend Lifespan by Up to 10%


Surgery Can Slow Cellular Aging and Extend Lifespan by Up to 10%.

The longer the shared circulatory system between animals, the more enduring the benefits for aging mice.

Researchers have discovered that connecting the circulatory systems of young and old mice through surgery can slow down aging at the cellular level and extend the lifespan of elderly animals by up to 10%.

A recent study led by researchers from the Duke University Health Center, published in the journal “Nature Aging,” found that the longer the duration of shared circulation in animals, the longer the anti-aging effects persisted once the two were no longer connected.

The study’s findings suggest that young individuals benefit from a mixture of components and chemicals in the blood that contribute to vitality, which could potentially be isolated as a therapy to accelerate recovery, restore physical vigor, and extend the lifespan of older individuals.

“This is the first evidence that a process called heterochronic parabiosis can slow down the rate of aging while extending both lifespan and healthspan,” said Dr. James White, a senior author and Assistant Professor of Medicine and Cell Biology at MIT, Duke University School of Medicine, and the Duke Aging Center.

White and his colleagues set out to determine whether the benefits of heterochronic parabiosis (the surgical fusion of two animals of different ages to achieve shared circulatory systems) were transient or more long-lasting.

Previous research at Duke University and elsewhere documented anti-aging benefits in the tissues and cells of older mice after three weeks of parabiosis. These studies found that older mice became more active and their tissues showed signs of rejuvenation.


Surgery Can Slow Cellular Aging and Extend Lifespan by Up to 10%



“Our idea was, if we see these anti-aging effects in three weeks of parabiosis, what happens if we extend it to 12 weeks? This is roughly equivalent to a 10% extension of a mouse’s three-year lifespan,” White said.

White emphasized the importance of the age of the mice, with young mice being four months old and older mice being two years old. After a two-month follow-up period following separation, the older animals exhibited improved physiological abilities and a 10% extension in lifespan compared to animals that did not undergo the surgery.

At the cellular level, heterochronic parabiosis significantly reduced the epigenetic age of blood and liver tissues and showed gene expression changes opposite to those associated with aging, similar to several longevity-promoting interventions such as calorie restriction. Even after two months of separation, the rejuvenating effects persisted.

In human terms, exposure to heterochronic parabiosis is akin to pairing a 50-year-old with an 18-year-old for approximately eight years, resulting in an eight-year extension of lifespan.

White noted that the purpose of the experiment was to investigate whether long-term exposure to young blood circulation would have lasting effects on aging mice. He mentioned that pairing humans in heterochronic parabiosis is clearly impractical and even unethical. He also pointed out that other anti-aging strategies, such as calorie restriction, can better extend the lifespan of mice.

“Our work suggests the need to explore which factors in the circulation of young blood contribute to this anti-aging phenomenon. We’ve demonstrated that shared circulation can extend the lifespan and health of older mice, and the longer the exposure, the more enduring the changes. The factors driving this trend are essential but currently unclear. Are they proteins or metabolites? Is it the infusion of new cells from young mice, or is young mice merely buffering the aging, pro-aging blood? That’s what we hope to learn next,” White said.



Surgery Can Slow Cellular Aging and Extend Lifespan by Up to 10%

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