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Rejuvenation Res. 2018 Apr;21(2):178-181. doi: 10.1089/rej.2017.1940. Epub 2017 Apr 6.

Young Blood Plasma Administration to Fight Alzheimer's Disease?

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1 Department for Life Quality Studies, University of Bologna , Bologna, Italy .
2 Interdepartmental Center "Luigi Galvani" for the Integrated Study of Biophysics, Bioinformatics and Biocomplexity, University of Bologna , Bologna, Italy .


Despite decades of intensive research, no drugs can cure or even stabilize Alzheimer's disease (AD). Current pharmacological treatments only partially mask the symptoms while the disease progresses within the brain. Finding a preventive measure or a cure for people with AD is indeed a worldwide urgent priority. A recent interesting study by T. Wyss-Coray's research group provides the first evidence that exposure to young blood or plasma can reverse some AD-related molecular and behavioral alterations. Heterochronic parabiosis (shared blood circulation) of AD transgenic mice with young healthy mice did not reduce amyloidosis and microglial activation in AD mice, but reversed the loss of synaptophysin and calbindin (critical synaptic proteins, indicators of cognitive decline in AD) in the dentate gyrus, and the abnormal expression, in the hippocampus, of many genes involved in key neuronal signaling pathways. Moreover, repeated intravenous administration of plasma from young healthy mice to AD mice reversed the excessive phosphorylation of hippocampal extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), and improved spatial working memory and associative memory. Although observations in mouse models of AD might not necessarily extrapolate to humans, this preclinical study provides the first demonstration that young plasma has potential therapeutic properties, by ameliorating aspects of the disease that are present in AD patients. Clinical trials are already under way. If young plasma transfusion will be effective in AD patients, it will be important to identify the key factors responsible for the positive effects, as they might lead to the development of molecule interventions with a better efficacy/risk profile.


Alzheimer's disease; heterochronic parabiosis; learning and memory; synaptophysin; transgenic mouse; young plasma administration

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