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JAMA Neurol. 2015 Oct;72(10):1191-4. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.1616.

Blood-Borne Revitalization of the Aged Brain.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.
2
Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California2Center for Tissue Regeneration, Repair, and Restoration, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Healthcare System, Palo Alto, California.

Abstract

In the modern medical era, more diverse and effective treatment options have translated to increased life expectancy. With this increased life span comes increased age-associated disease and the dire need to understand underlying causes so that therapies can be designed to mitigate the burden to health and the economy. Aging exacts a seemingly inevitable multisystem deterioration of function that acts as a risk factor for a variety of age-related disorders, including those that devastate organs of limited regenerative potential, such as the brain. Rather than studying the brain and mechanisms that govern its aging in isolation from other organ systems, an emerging approach is to understand the relatively unappreciated communication that exists between the brain and systemic environment. Revisiting classical methods of experimental physiology in animal models has uncovered surprising regenerative activity in young blood with translational implications for the aging liver, muscle, brain, and other organs. Soluble factors present in young or aged blood are sufficient to improve or impair cognitive function, respectively, suggesting an aging continuum of brain-relevant systemic factors. The age-associated plasma chemokine CCL11 has been shown to impair young brain function while GDF11 has been reported to increase the generation of neurons in aged mice. However, the identities of specific factors mediating memory-enhancing effects of young blood and their mechanisms of action are enigmatic. Here we review brain rejuvenation studies in the broader context of systemic rejuvenation research. We discuss putative mechanisms for blood-borne brain rejuvenation and suggest promising avenues for future research and development of therapies.

PMID:
26237737
PMCID:
PMC4867550
DOI:
10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.1616
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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