Dr Bryant Villeponteau the formulator of Stem Cell 100 and other Life Code nutraceuticals was recently interviewed by Dr Mercola who owns the largest health web site on the internet. Dr. Villeponteau is also the author of Decoding Longevity an new book which will be released during December. He is a leading researcher in novel anti-aging therapies involving stem cells an area in which he has been a pioneer for over three decades.

Stem cell technology could have a dramatic influence on our ability to live longer and replace some of our failing parts, which is the inevitable result of the aging process. With an interest in aging and longevity, Dr. Villeponteau started out by studying developmental biology. ?If we could understand development, we could understand aging,? he says. Later, his interest turned more toward the gene regulation aspects. While working as a professor at the University of Michigan at the Institute of Gerontology, he received, and accepted, a job offer from Geron Corporation?a Bay Area startup, in the early ?90s.

?They were working on telomerase, which I was pretty excited about at the time. I joined them when they first started,? he says. ?We had an all-out engagement there to clone human telomerase. It had been cloned in other animals but not in humans or mammals.?

If you were to unravel the tip of the chromosome, a telomere is about 15,000 bases long at the moment of conception in the womb. Immediately after conception, your cells begin to divide, and your telomeres begin to shorten each time the cell divides. Once your telomeres have been reduced to about 5,000 bases, you essentially die of old age.

?What you have to know about telomerase is that it?s only on in embryonic cells. In adult cells, it?s totally, for the most part, turned off, with the exception of adult stem cells,? Dr. Villeponteau explains. ?Adult stem cells have some telomerase ? not full and not like the embryonic stem cells, but they do have some telomerase activity.?

Most of the research currently being done, both in academia and industrial labs, revolves around either embryonic stem cells, or a second type called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). Dr. Villeponteau, on the other hand, believes adult stem cells are the easiest and most efficient way to achieve results.

That said, adult stem cells do have their drawbacks. While they?re your own cells, which eliminates the problem of immune-related issues, there?s just not enough of them. Especially as you get older, there are fewer and fewer adult stem cells, and they tend to become increasingly dysfunctional too. Yet another hurdle is that they don?t form the tissues that they need to form…

To solve such issues, Dr. Villeponteau has created a company with the technology and expertise to amplify your adult stem cells a million-fold or more, while still maintaining their ability to differentiate all the different cell types, and without causing the cells to age. Again, it is the adult stem cell?s ability to potentially cure, or at least ameliorate, many of our age-related diseases by regenerating tissue that makes this field so exciting.

Dr Villeponteau believes you can add many years, likely decades, to your life simply by eating right, exercising (which promotes the production of muscle stem cells, by the way) and living an otherwise clean and healthy lifestyle. Extreme life extension, on the other hand, is a different matter.

His book, Decoding Longevity, covers preventive strategies to prolong your life, mainly diet, exercise, and supplements. A portion of the book also covers future developments in the area of more radical life extension, such as stem cell technology.

If you would like to read the entire interview here is a link to the text version:

Transcript of Interview With Dr. Bryant Villeponteau by Dr. Joseph Mercola

lroot on September 19th, 2018

Now researchers have found a way not just to stop, but, reverse the aging process. The key is something called a telomere. We all have them. They are the tips or caps of your chromosomes. They are long and stable in young adults, but, as we age they become shorter, damaged and frayed. When they stop working we start aging and experience things like hearing and memory loss.

In a recent study published in the peer reviewed journal Nature scientists took mice that were prematurely aged to the equivalent of 80-year-old humans, added an enzyme and essentially turned their telomeres back on. After the treatment they were the physiological equivalent of young adults. You can see the before and after pictures in the videos above. Brain function improved, their fertility was restored it was a remarkable reversal of the aging process. In the top video the untreated mouse shows bad skin, gray hair and it is balding. The mouse with it’s telomeres switched back on has a dark coat color, the hair is restored and the coat has a nice healthy sheen to it. Even more dramatic is the change in brain size. Before treatment the aged mice had 75% of a normal size brain like a patient with severe Alzheimers. After the telomeres were reactivated the brain returned to normal size. As for humans while it is just one factor scientists say the longer the telomeres the better the chances for a more graceful aging.

The formal study Telomere dysfunction induces metabolic and mitochondrial compromise was published in Nature.

Additional information published by Harvard can be found in the following articles.

Scientists Find Root Molecular Cause of Declining Health in the Old

Decoding Immortality – Smithsonian Channel Video about the Discovery of Telomerase

While scientists are not yet able to accomplish the same results in humans we believe we have developed a nutraceutical to help prolong youth and possibly extend life until age reversal therapy for humans becomes available.

lroot on September 17th, 2018

New evidence that adult stem cells are critical to human aging has recently been published on a study done on a super-centenarian woman that lived to be 115 years. At death, her circulating stem cell pool had declined to just two active stem cells from stem cell counts that are typically more than a thousand in younger adults. Super-centenarians have survived all the normal diseases that kill 99.9% of us before 100 years of age, so it has been a mystery as to what actually kills these hardy individuals. This recent data suggest that stem cell decline may be the main contributor to aging. If so, stabilizing stem cells may be the best thing one can do to slow your rate of aging.

There are many theories of aging that have been proposed. For example, damage to cells and tissues from oxidative stress has been one of the most popular fundamental theories of aging for more than half a century. Yet antioxidant substances or genes that code antioxidant enzymes have proven largely ineffective in slowing aging when tested in model animals. Thus, interest by scientists has shifted to other hypotheses that might provide a better explanation for the slow declines in function with age.

Stem cells provide one such promising mechanism of aging. Of course, we all know that babies are young and vigorous, independent of the age of their parents. This is because adults have embryonic stem cells that can generate young new cells needed to form a complete young baby. Indeed, these embryonic stem cells are the product of continuously evolving stem cell populations that go back to the beginning of life on earth over 3.5 billion years ago!

In adults, the mostly immortal embryonic stem cells give rise to mortal adult stem cells in all the tissues of the body. These adult stem cells can regenerate your cells and tissues as they wear out and need replacement. Unfortunate, adult stem cells also age, which leads to fewer cells and/or loss of function in cell replacement. As functional stem cells decline, skin and organs decline with age.

Blood from world’s oldest woman suggests life limit

Time Magazine: Long-Life Secrets From The 115-Year-Old Woman

Somatic mutations found in the healthy blood compartment of a 115-yr-old woman demonstrate oligoclonal hematopoiesis

The somatic mutation burden in healthy white blood cells (WBCs) is not well known. Based on deep whole-genome sequencing, we estimate that approximately 450 somatic mutations accumulated in the nonrepetitive genome within the healthy blood compartment of a 115-yr-old woman. The detected mutations appear to have been harmless passenger mutations: They were enriched in noncoding, AT-rich regions that are not evolutionarily conserved, and they were depleted for genomic elements where mutations might have favorable or adverse effects on cellular fitness, such as regions with actively transcribed genes. The distribution of variant allele frequencies of these mutations suggests that the majority of the peripheral white blood cells were offspring of two related hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) clones. Moreover, telomere lengths of the WBCs were significantly shorter than telomere lengths from other tissues. Together, this suggests that the finite lifespan of HSCs, rather than somatic mutation effects, may lead to hematopoietic clonal evolution at extreme ages.

lroot on August 31st, 2018


In a study conducted by the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University researchers have discovered a significant accumulation of bacteria in the small intestine from probiotic use which can result in disorientating brain fogginess and rapid, severe belly bloating. The study was conducted on 30 patients with 22 of them reporting problems with difficulty concentrating and confusion. They also reported bloating and gas.

The researchers found large colonies of breeding bacteria in the patient’s small intestines and also high levels of D-lactic acid which was being produced by the bacteria lactobacilus fermentation of sugars in the food they consumed. D-lactic acid can be temporarily toxic to brain cells which can interfere with thinking, sense of time and cognition. Some of the patients in the study showed two to three times the normal amount of D-lactic acid in their blood. Most of the patients said the brain fogginess they were experiencing lasted from half an hour to several hours after eating and some reported that the fogginess was so severe they had to quit their job.

This is the first time the connection has been made between bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, high levels of D-lactic acid in the gut, and brain fogginess associated with probiotic use. Probiotic bacteria has the capacity to break down sugar and produce D-lactic acid. If the small bowel is inadvertently colonized with probiotic bacteria then the stage has been set for potentially developing lactic acidosis and brain fogginess. Probiotics can be very beneficial in some scenarios such as restoring gut bacteria after taking antibiotics, but with excessive or indiscriminate use complications such as noted in the study can arise. The researchers warn that probiotics should be treated as a drug rather than as a food supplement.

The patients in the study who experienced brain fogginess took protiotics and small intestinal bowel overgrowth (SIBO) was more common in this group (68% compared to 28%),. The patients with brain fogginess also showed a higher prevalence of D-lactic acidosis (77% compared to 25%). When the patients experiencing the brain fogginess stopped taking the probiotics and took a course of antibiotics, their brain fogginess resolved. The actual movement of food in the gastrointestinal tract was slow in one third of the patients with brain fogginess and one fourth in the other group. Slower passage of food can increase the chance of SIBO.

Normally the small intestines do not make much D-lactic acid. SIBO appears to change that by causing bacteria to go into a feeding frenzy which ferments sugars resulting in methane and hydrogen gas that causes bloating. When probiotics are added to that the acid gets absorbed in the blood and can reach the brain.

By identifying the problem, it can be treated. Diagnosis includes urine, blood and breath tests to detect lactic acid and an endoscopy which examines fluid from the small intestine can identify the specific bacteria and antibiotic treatment can be administered.

In the study, the patients with brain fogginess, SIBO and/or D-lactic acidosis were asked to discontinue probiotic products and were given antibiotics which were targeted to their bacterial population. Those patients who did not exhibit SIBO were asked to stop probiotics and stop eating yogurt. Those patients with SIBO and D-lactic acidosis but no brain fogginess were also administered antibiotics. After treatments, 70 percent of patients reported significant improvements in their symptoms. 85 percent of patients reported their brain fogginess had disappeared. Those patients with SIBO and high levels of D-lactic acid and no brain fogginess reported significant improvement in regards to cramping and bloating with three months.

All patients who participated in the study had extensive examination of the gastrointestinal tract which included a motility test to rule out any other potential causes of their symptoms. Questionnaires were filled out which included questions about symptoms such as belching, gas and abdominal pain along with other related issues about antibiotic and probiotic use and food fads and consumption of yogurt.
Patients were given carbohydrates which were followed by metabolic testing to see the impact of things like insulin and blood glucose levels. Levels of D-lactic acid and L-lactate acid were also measured as these acids which result from muscle use of glucose as energy can also cause muscle cramps.

Probiotics are meant to work in the colon and not in the stomach or small intestines. However, people with motility issues, those taking opioids and proton pump inhibitors, can result in issues with probiotic bacteria reaching the proper place. Other problems from use of antidepressants and minerals like iron and people with diabetes, can also slow movement and increase the change that probiotics will remain too long in the upper intestine where they can cause harm.

For many people probiotics can help especially in those suffering from gastroenteritis or stomach flu where diarrhea and other problems from antibiotic use can wipe out natural gut bacteria. This is when probiotic use is beneficial in building up the bacterial flora. Good sources of probiotics are sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kimchi and dark chocolate. These are all generally safe due to their small amounts of bacteria. Helpful gut bacteria or microbiome are essential to a well functioning immune system and general health overall.

Future studies will include following patients for longer periods of time to ensure problems remain resolved. Some of the patients in the current study required two rounds of antibiotics.

To view the original scientific study click here: Brain fogginess, gas and bloating: a link between SIBO, probiotics and metabolic acidosis.

lroot on August 24th, 2018

peoplle eating

Through a variety of studies involving timing of breakfast and dinner and eating during an 8-10 hour window each day, health benefits have been discovered. From weight loss and reduction of body fat to protection against obesity and metabolic diseases, the research has revealed a host of health benefits to controlled eating.

One study conducted by scientists at the Salk Institute, discovered that mice who lacked the biological clocks thought necessary for a healthy metabolism, could still be protected against metabolic diseases and obesity when their daily access to food was restricted to a 10 hour window. The research suggests that health problems which are associated with disruptions to an animals 24 hour rhythms of rest and activity, which in humans is linked to doing shift work or eating throughout most of the day, can be corrected by consuming all calories in a 10 hour window.

For many people their day begins with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning and doesn’t end until a bedtime snack 14 to 15 hours later. Restricting food intake to 10 hours per day and then fasting the rest of the time can lead to better health says Satchidananda Panda, a Professor in Salk’s Regulatory Biology Lab.

All cells in a mammal’s body operate on a 24 hour cycle which is known as the circadian rhythm which are cellular cycles that control when various genes are active. In humans, digestive genes are more active earlier in the day while genes which control cellular repair are more active at night. In previous studies researchers found that mice which were allowed 24 hour access to a high fat diet became obese and developed a variety of metabolic diseases including fatty liver, diabetes and high cholesterol. When these same mice were restricted to the high fat diet for an 8 to 10 hour window, they became lean, fit and healthy. The results were attributed to the mice being in better sync with their cellular clocks by eating most of the calories when the genes for digestion were most active.

In the current study, the researchers aimed to better understand the role circadian rhythm plays in metabolic diseases through disabling the genes responsible for maintaining the biological clock in mice, including the liver which regulates many metabolic functions. The genetic defects in these clock less mice, makes them more susceptible to diabetes, fatty liver disease and high blood cholesterol. These diseases were further escalated when the mice were allowed to eat sugary and fatty foods.

To test time restricted eating, the clock less mice were put on one of two high fat diet regimes. One group had access to food around the clock while the other group had access to the same number of calories but only during a 10 hour window. As was expected, the group of mice that ate at any time became obese and developed metabolic diseases. The other group which only ate during a 10 hour window remained healthy and lean despite not having an internal clock and genetically programmed to be morbidly sick. This revealed to the researchers that health benefits derived from the 10 hour window were not only due to restricting eating times when digestive genes were most active.

From previous studies, researchers were under the impression that the biological clock was internally timing the process of turning metabolic genes on and off at predetermined times. And while this may still be true, the research shows that by controlling the mice’s feeding and fasting cycles the internal timing system can be overridden with an external timing system.

The work suggests that the main role of circadian clocks might be to tell an animal when to eat and when not to eat. This strikes a balance between sufficient nutrition during the “eat” state and the necessary rejuvenation and repair during the fasting state. When the clock is disrupted as can be seen in humans who do shift work or when it might be compromised due to genetic defects, the balance between rejuvenation and nutrition breaks down and disease can occur. As a person ages, the circadian clock weakens. This parallels the increased risk for heart disease, cancer, dementia and metabolic diseases.

The good news is that simply making a lifestyle change by eating all food within a 10 hour window can restore balance, help maintain health and stave off metabolic diseases. This finding that a good lifestyle can beat bad effects of defective genes opens up new hope for staying healthy.

The researchers plan to study whether eating within an 8 to 10 hour window can prevent or reverse many age related diseases as well as looking at how the current study on mice can apply to humans.

Another study in regards to controlled eating involved making modest changes to breakfast and dinner times to help reduce body fat. This study led by Dr. Jonathan Johnston at the University of Surrey investigated what impact changing meal times has on dietary intake, blood risk markers for heart disease and diabetes, and dietary intake.

Participants in the study were divided into two groups. One group was required to delay their breakfast time by 90 minutes and have their dinner time 90 minutes earlier than normal. The other group was allowed to eat their meals as they normally would. Blood samples and complete diet diaries were given by all participants before and during the 10 week intervention and were asked to complete a feedback questionnaire immediately following the study. Participants were not asked to follow a strict diet and could eat freely provided it was within a certain eating window.

The researchers found that those who changed their eating times lost on average more than twice as much body fat as those who ate their meals as they normally would. And while there were no restrictions on what the participants could eat, the researchers found that the group who changed mealtimes ate less food overall than the other group. The questionnaire confirmed this with 57% of participants noting a reduction in food intake either due to decreased eating opportunities, reduction in food intake or a cutback in snacking particularly in the evening. The researchers did note that they were uncertain whether the longer fasting time with this group may have contributed to the reduction in body fat.

The researchers also examined if fasting diets are compatible with long term commitment and everyday life. When questioned, 57% of participants thought they could not have maintained the new mealtimes past the prescribed 10 weeks due to incompatibility with social and family life. However, 43% felt they would consider continuing if eating times were a bit more flexible.

Although the study was small, it did provide researchers with invaluable insights into how alterations to meal times can have benefits to the body. Reduced body fat lessens chances of obesity and related diseases and is vital to improving overall health. However, fasting diets can be difficult to follow and can be challenging given most people’s lifestyle. These preliminary findings will help researchers design larger and more comprehensive studies of time restricted fasting.

Both studies summarized above do reveal that changing eating habits can influence a person’s health and help protect against disease and obesity. As more studies involving fasting and eating times are conducted, more insights will be revealed as to further health benefits and how people can incorporate new diet and fasting lifestyles into their everyday life in a compatible manner.

To view the original scientific study click here: A pilot feasibility study exploring the effects of a moderate time-restricted feeding intervention on energy intake, adiposity and metabolic physiology in free-living human subjects.

lroot on August 24th, 2018

people socializing

Having a great circle of friends and maintaining strong social networks may just be another key to helping maintain memory and brain health. A study by Ohio State University has discovered that mice which have been housed in groups had much healthier brains and better memories than those who lived in pairs.

The study helps confirm the role social connections make in improving quality of life and preserving memory. Maintaining a large social network can have very positive influences on the aging of the brain says Elizabeth Kirby, assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience and a member of the Center for Chronic Brain Injury at the university. It has already been established that humans have a strong correlation between social connections and cognitive health. What wasn’t clear was whether having a group of friends protected people or if people with brain health that was declining were withdrawing from their connections.

The study was designed to answer this question by using an animal model. Some mice were housed for three months with six roommates to allow for complex interactions. Other mice lived in pairs known as the old couple model. All mice were 15 to 18 months old for the experiment which is a time of natural memory decline in the lifespan of rodents.

When the mice that were group housed were tested for memory they fared much better than the pairs. Moving an object was the test. The group housed mice were better at remembering what they had seen and went to the object in the new location. The paired mice had no idea the object had even been moved.

The researchers also conducted a maze-based memory test with holes that led to escape hatches. The group housed mice improved with each trial memorizing where the escape doors were and walked directly to them. The coupled mice did not get faster even when the tests were repeated several times over the course of a day. They continued to search each hole rather than remembering where the ones were that led to the escape hatch. The group housed mice were using the hippocampus, the area of the brain that relates to good memory function. With age the hippocampus declines fairly markedly even when dementia is not present. Social ties and exercise are known to help improve memory in this part of the brain.

The study indicated the differences appeared to be due to socialization alone as opposed to previous studies which focused on mice that had highly enriched environments comparing them with mice that did not. Further research is planned which will explore the molecular explanations for the connection between improved memory and brain health and socialization. However, the recent study stresses how important social connections are as we age.

To view the original scientific study click here: A Larger Social Network Enhances Novel Object Location Memory and Reduces Hippocampal Microgliosis in Aged Mice. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 2018; 10 DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2018.00142

lroot on August 17th, 2018

woman in sun

The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association has recently reported a study that discovered nearly 1 billion people around the world are most likely deficient or insufficient in Vitamin D. It is believed that part of the lack of Vitamin D may be due to minimal exposure to the sun by the over use of sunscreen. Chronic Disease is also playing a role in this vitamin deficiency.

Overall people are spending less time outdoors, however when they are they are using large amounts of sunscreen. Sunscreen mitigates the ability of the body to produce Vitamin D and should be used strategically. Some exposure to the sun is necessary for the body to catalyze Vitamin D. People need to be vigilant about protecting themselves against skin cancer, however there are healthy, moderate levels of unprotected sun exposure which is very helpful in boosting Vitamin D.

According to the Endocrine Society, Vitamin Deficiency is realized when levels are below 20mg/ml and insufficiency is realized when levels are between 21 and 30 mg/ml. You can have your level checked with a blood test that your doctor can order.

Vitamin D is also inhibited with a variety of diseases which reduce the body’s ability to metabolize Vitamin D from food. Vitamin D is considered to be a hormone and is generated when skin is subjected to sunlight. Almost every cell in the body has Vitamin D receptors which is why this vitamin plays such a vital role in the body’s functions. From immune system functionality to minimization of inflammation to cell growth modulation and more, Vitamin D is a vital vitamin. Anyone who is Vitamin D deficient or insufficient is prone to bone fractures and weakness of muscles.

The amount of time a person should spend in the sun depends on that person’s idiosyncratic skin pigmentation and geographic location. Lighter skin will synthesize larger amounts of Vitamin D than darker skin. The study discovered that 95% of African American adults might have deficiency or insufficiency of Vitamin D. Variations across races are because of unique levels of skin pigmentation. Maintaining and boosting healthy levels of Vitamin D is as easy as spending between five minutes and half an hour in the afternoon sun just a couple of days per week. Sunscreen with SPF 15 will reduce Vitamin D3 by 99% so it is important to not apply sunscreen during the five to thirty minute sessions in the sun.

Of course the sun is not the only source of Vitamin D. A variety of foods provide Vitamin D some of which are salmon, milk, breakfast cereals, eggs and portobello mushrooms. Supplements can also be used to boost Vitamin D levels and are effective.

lroot on August 14th, 2018

air pollution

A study conducted by a team of public health researchers and leading environmental engineers have determined that air pollution shortens the lives of humans by more than a year. This is the first study that looked at data from air pollution and lifespan in order to examine global variations on how they might affect overall life expectancy.

Outdoor air pollution was looked at from particulate matter (PM) smaller than 2.5 microns. Particles this fine can enter deep into the lungs and breathing these particles is associated with an increase risk of a variety of serious diseases and conditions. 2.5 microns is pollution that comes from car, trucks, fires, wind storms, power plants and industrial and agriculture emissions.

Led by researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, data from the Global Burden of Disease Study was used to measure PM2.5 air pollution exposure and its affects in 185 countries. The team then quantified the national impact on lifespan for each individual country as well on a global scale. Their findings were published in the August 22nd issue of Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

Globally, outdoor air pollution reduces average life expectancy at birth by one year. The effect is more pronounced in some countries such as Egypt were life span is reduced by 1.9 years, in India by 1.5 years and in Russia it is about nine months. In heavily populated areas of Asia and Africa it is much worse with life expectancy between one year and two months to one year and eleven months. In the United States it is less, currently reducing average life expectancy of an American born today by just over four months.

The study took into account measurements of ambient or outdoor air pollution. Data was gathered from previous studies using ground based pollution meters and satellites to calculate levels of ambient particular matter (PM2.5). The lead researcher, Dr. Joshua Apte, called this kind of particular matter “the single more important environmental pollutant for ill health and death.” Right now 95% of the world’s population are exposed to levels of PM2.5 which exceed the World Health Organization’s recommended level.

From previous studies, data indicated that PM2.5 was the fifth highest mortality risk factor in 2015. Exposure to PM2.5 levels caused 4.2 millions deaths that year and 103.1 million life years lost after adjusting for disabilities. This is the equaivalent of 7.6% of all deaths world wide in 2015. The World Health Organization estimates that one in nine deaths are related to indoor and outdoor air pollution.

The study also discovered that death rates from air pollution had increase calculating 3.5 million people died worldwide from breathing PM2.5 in 1990 which is 700,000 fewer deaths compared to those killed in 2015. The researchers noted that the increase was most likely due to aging populations, changes in non communicable disease rates and the increase of air pollution in middle and low income countries.

It is well known that fine particle air pollution is a major worldwide killer. The study was able to systematically identify how air pollution substantially shortens lifespans throughout the world. Compared to other significant phenomena which affect human survival rates, Dr. Apte points out this is a significant large number even noting that it is considerably larger than the survival benefits that might be realized with cures found for both breast and lung cancer combined. In India and China the improvement of air quality would be especially large for the elderly. For a good portion of Asia reduced air pollution would affect 60 year old people by a 15 to 20 percent higher chance of living to 85 or older.

Dr. Apte reports that sources of PM2.5 pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are very often tightly linked. This means that moving to cleaner energy sources can deliver quick dividends for the health of the public. More efficient car and cleaner electricity directly affect both climate and health. He believes cleaner and more efficient energy use is one of the best added benefits of tackling climate change which will lead to healthier and longer lives.

To view the original scientific study click here: Ambient PM2.5 Reduces Global and Regional Life Expectancy.

stem cells 4

Research by the National University of Singapore and the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology in Italy has revealed that mature cells can be reprogrammed into redeployable stem cells without genetic engineering. This is important because there are significant health risks associated with treatment utilizing stem cells with added genes. Instead of direct genetic modification, they are instead confined to a defined geometric space for an extended period of time. The breakthrough findings will no doubt usher in a new generation of technologies for stem cell tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

In earlier studies over a decade ago scientists showed that mature cells could be reprogrammed to become pluripotent stem cells which were capable of being developed into any cell type in the body. Scientists accomplished this by genetically modifying mature cells by introducing external factors that would reset genomic programs of the cells. This essentially turned back the clock returning them to an undifferentiated or unspecified state. These lab made cells which are known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) could then be programmed into different types of cells for tissue repair, drug discovery and also to grow new organs for transplants. These cells did not need to be harvested from embryos.

Unfortunately a major problem is the tendency for any specialized cell that has been developed from iPSCs to form tumors after introduction into the body. The researchers turned their focus to understanding how stem cell growth and differentiation is regulated in the body and how cells naturally convert to another cell type or revert to an immature stem cell like state during tissue maintenance or during development.

The new research has shown that mature cells can be reprogrammed in vitro into pluripotent stem cells by confining the cells to a defined area for growth rather than generically modifying them.

When fibroblast cells which are a type of mature cell found in connective tissue such as ligaments and tendons were confined to rectangular areas, they very quickly assumed the shape of the the surface of the medium that they were attached to. This indicated the cells were responding and measuring to the physical properties of the environment then conveying this information to the nucleus where DNA genome programs and packaging would adapt accordingly.

The cells were grown over ten days until they formed spherical clusters of cells. The genetic analysis of the cells contained within these clusters revealed that specific characteristics of chromatin which is the condensed from of packaged DNA normally associated with mature fibroblasts were lost by the 6th day. At the 10th day the cells expressed genes which are normally associated with embryonic stem cells and iPSCs. They team learned that by confining the mature cells for an extended period the mature fibroblasts could be turned into pluripotent stem cells. To confirm, the researchers directed their growth with high efficiency into two different specialized cell types and some cells were also directed back into fibroblasts.

The physical parameters used are reflective of the transient geometric constraints that cells can be exposed to in the body. During development the establishment of niches and geometric patterns are essential to the formation of functional organs and tissues. When tissue is damaged through disease or injury, cells will experience sudden alterations to their environment. In these cases, mature cells might revert back to a pluripotent stem cell like state prior to being redeployed as specialized cells for maintenance and repair of tissue. The study shows for the first time that mechanical cues can reset genomic programs of mature cells and then return them to a pluripotent state.

The researchers believe the use of geometric constraints to reprogram mature cells might better reflect processes that naturally occur within the body. And more importantly, the findings allow researchers to generate stem cells from mature cells with high efficiency and without genetically modifying them.

To view the original scientific study click here: Laterally confined growth of cells induces nuclear reprogramming in the absence of exogenous biochemical factors

lroot on July 27th, 2018


A new study conducted at McGill University shows us that the bacteria which live in our intestinal tract have an influence on how well we age. The study focused on the how the intestinal microbiota influence longevity and aging. Composition of the intestinal tract and its effects on health have been studied in the past, however just recently has aging been associated with changes in the microbiota.

Sometimes the intestines are referred to as the human’s second brain. There are over 200 million neurons which innervate it and combined with the microbiota which is the ecosystem of fungi, bacteria and microorganisms which are present in the gastrointestinal tract, they form an entity which influences our emotions, our moods and also intervene in the development of neurological diseases. The brain along with the nervous system of the intestines and the intestinal microbiota communicate bidirectionally through the gut brain axis. Different types of information are transmitted including immunological, metabolic, neruonal and endocrine all of which are derived from bacterial cells and their metabolites.

Microbiota composition varies with age and these alterations have been shown to be associated with aging and disease development. The microbiota are able to simultaneously modulate age related processes such as oxidative stress, metabolite regulation, energy homeostasis and inflammation through the gut brain axis. Microbiota therefore have been identified as a therapy against age related diseases.

The researchers in the recent study analyzed what impact three probiotics and a new prebiotic would have on the lifespan of male fruit flies. Fruit flies are about 70% similar to mammals in terms of their biochemical pathways. The intestinal microbiota varied with age which were similar to those observed in humans. The combination of probiotics and prebiotics increased the longevity of male fruit flies by 60% and using just a probiotic combination alone increased longevity by 55%.

Researchers noted that similar results were realized with similar experiments on mice and rat models. The different mixtures of probiotics had beneficial effects against memory loss, neurodegeneration, antioxidant defenses, immunity and inflammation and increased lifespan in the mice. In additional studies, probiotics were observed to increase the lifespan of C elegans (roundworms).

To maintain a healthy intestinal microbiota to help delay chronic diseases and extend lifespan, a diet rich in probiotics and prebiotics is highly recommended. Symbiotic formulations which mix probiotics and prebiotics have shown beneficial results against age related biological disorders and also for anti aging. It is hoped that in the future specific symbiotic formulas can be developed to help prevent chronic and neurodegenerative diseases.

To view the original scientific study click here: Longevity extension in Drosophila through gut-brain communication