Rejuvenating Old Skin Cells to Regain Youthful Function

Scientists from the Babraham Institute in Cambridge have discovered a new technique to rejuvenate old skin cells. This technique has the ability for researchers to turn back time for up to 30 years on cellular aging without changing their function.

They were able to partially recover an older cell’s function and also rejuvenate it on a molecular level to a more youthful state. They simulated a skin wound for their research and noticed how the cells started behaving like more youthful cells.

As a person ages, their cellular ability to behave normal declines, therefore resulting in accumulation of the genome, which is a mark of aging. From this new technique cells look and behave much younger. It is a monumental step forward in the ongoing research.

Regenerative biology’s main goal is to replace or repair cells, even old ones. The ability to develop “induced” stem cells is an important part. There are many steps involved including deleting some markers that make cells specialised. The theory is that they can then become any cell type. Scientists have been eluded as to how to mimic the conditions necessary to re-differentiate a cell type.

The new technique overcomes this by erasing a cells identity by temporarily stopping the reprogramming process. The scientists were then able to discover the exact balance between a cells reprogramming, which can make them young biologically and still have a specialised function.

But the research is still in the early stages. This new process stems from the research in 2007 from Shinya Yamanaka. He was able to turn a normal cell that has a specific function into a stem cell that has the ability to turn into any cell type. It takes up to 50 days to do this and the four key molecules used are now called the Yamanaka factors.

The new technique is called maturation phase transient reprogramming and uses exposure to the Yamanaka factors for 13 days. It is at this point that the cells lose their age-related changes and temporarily lose their identity. They are then then left to grow, and from observation from genome analysis, showed that they had formed new markers characteristic of skin cells showing collagen production.

This new research has potential for the rejuvenation of not only skin cells but other tissues in the body. It could lead to treatment of diseases of old age such as heart and neurological disorders and diabetes. Because it has now been shown that rejuvenation of a cell can be done without losing its specialised function the implications of further study is very exciting. This new research could be revolutionary for regenerative medicine.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Multi-omic rejuvenation of human cells by maturation phase transient reprogramming

Calorie Restriction Trial Shows Key Factors in Extending Human Health

A new study confirms health benefits of moderate calorie restriction in people and identified a key protein that might be utilized to extend human health. Previous research has shown that restricting calorie intake by worms, mice and flies can enhance the span of life in lab conditions. However, whether calorie restriction is able to do the same for humans has remained unclear.

This was the first controlled study of restricting calories in healthy humans and the research was based on the clinical study CALERIE (Comprehensive Assessment of Long Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy).

The researchers first created a baseline of calories consumed for over 200 participants. They asked a portion of the participants to reduce calories by 14% while the remaining participants continued to eat as normal. The long term effects to their health were analyzed for 2 years.

The main intent of the clinical trial was to observe if restricting calories is as beneficial to humans as it is for animals in the lab. They wanted to understand what restricting calories does to the human body and, specifically if it can lead to improved health. Previous research on mice had shown restricting calories can increase infections. So the team wanted to see how restricting calories might have a link to inflammation and the response of the immune system.

In humans chronic low grade inflammation is a significant trigger of a variety of chronic diseases, therefore having an adverse effect on life span. They wanted to answer what does restricting calories do to the metabolic and immune systems. If it is beneficial, then how do we control the endogenous pathways that copy its effects in humans?

The team began by analyzing the thymus gland which is located above the heart and produces T cells. T cells are a crucial part of our immune system as they are a type of white blood cell. This gland will age faster than other organs, and as it ages it produces fewer T cells. When healthy adults are around 40 years old, 70% of this gland is already nonfunctional and fatty. As we age, we begin to feel the absence of brand new T cells as the ones we have left are not good at fighting new pathogens. This is one of the reasons older people are at a greater risk for illnesses.

The team used MRI to determine if there were beneficial differences between the thymus glands of the participants on the restricted calorie diet and those who were not. They discovered that the gland in the participants on the restricted calorie diet had greater function volume and less fat after 2 years of restricting their calories. This meant they were producing more T cells than they did at the beginning of the study. The participants who were not calorie restricted did not show any change in functional volume.

The team was amazed that the thymus gland can be rejuvenated noting that there is hardly any evidence of it occurring in humans. This dynamic effect on this gland had the team expecting to also discover changes to the immune cells that the gland was producing. If so, then there could be underlying overall benefits of restricting calories. However, when they sequenced the genes in these cells, they discovered there were not any changes in gene expression after the two year period.

This observation had the team look closer which showed a surprising discovery – it turned out the action was really in the tissue miscroenvironment and not the blood T cells.

The team had studied adipose tissue which is body fat of the participants on the calorie restricted diet at three different points – the beginning, at one year and at the 2 year end of the study. Body fat is essential as it delivers a strong immune system. The are a variety of immune cells that occur in fat and when they are atypically activated they turn into a source of inflammation.

The team discovered amazing changes in the gene expression of adipose tissue at one year that were sustained to two years. This showed some genes were involved in the extension of life in animals and also unique restriction mimicking of calorie targets that could improve anti-inflammatory and metabolic responses in people.

The team then set out to observe if any genes they had identified in the analysis could be driving some of the benefits of restricting calories. They looked at the gene for PLA2G7 which is one of the genes that was significantly inhibited after restricting calories. PLA2G7 is a protein that is produced by immune cells that are known as macrophages.

The change in PLA2G7 gene expression that was observed in the participants who limited their calories suggested the protein could be linked to the effects of restricting calories. The team also tracked what would happen when the protein was reduced in mice in a lab.

They discovered that reducing the protein in mice yielded similar benefits that were seen in the participants on the calorie restricted diet. The thymus gland of the mice was functional for a longer period. They were protected from weight gain due to diet and were also protected from inflammation due to the aging process.

The effects occurred due to PLA2G7 targeting a specific mechanism of inflammation known as NLRP3. Lowering PLA2G7 protected the older mice from inflammation.

The findings show that PLA2G7 is a driver of the effects of restricting calories. The identification of these drivers helps the team determine how the immune system and the metabolic system speak to each other. This can point to potential targets which can improve function of the immune system and reduce inflammation and possibly enhance a healthy lifespan.

For example, it could be possible to manipulate PLA2G7 and receive the benefits of restricting calories without having to actuall restrict calories which can be harmful for some humans.

CALERIE is a controlled study that indicated that a simple restriction of calories with no specific diet, has a significant effect of shifting the immuno-metabolic state in a direction that protects human health. It gives great hope.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Caloric restriction in humans reveals immunometabolic regulators of health span
Caloric restriction has a new player

New Stem Cell Therapy to Regrow Bone

A new study has discovered a way to regrow or replace bone that has been lost by using high frequency sound waves. Researchers from RMIT University showed how this could be done faster and more efficiently than any process now in use.

Currently the process of changing adult stem cells into bone cells has been complicated and used expensive equipment. This hindered it being used in mass production thus making its use unrealistic. And the small amount of clinical trials that attempted to regrow bone were a painful procedure for the patient. They involved collecting mesenchymal stem cells which primarily reside in bone marrow and converting these into bone cells.

In the study, adult stem cells were treated with a microchip that produced MHz-order high frequency sound waves. This quickly and efficiently turned them into bone cells. They found they could direct the sound waves to the right places with the amount of pressure needed to trigger the process. This new approach doesn’t require any special drugs and is very easy to do. It also cuts the amount of treatment time by several days.

This is extremely important for effective tissue engineering. It is cheap and simple to use and can easily be upscaled to treat a large amount of cells simultaneously. This approach has great potential in the use of treating stem cells before they are coated onto an implant or injected directly into the site of disease or an injury. Once they have started the process of changing into bone cells they can be used to regrow new bone.

These mesencymal stem cells can also be obtained from fat tissue and other areas of a patient’s body instead of bone marrow which is a less invasive procedure. They found the best procedure was to expose cells to 10-MHz signals for ten minutes a day for five days.

More research is needed to be able to scale up the procedure for practical use.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Short-Duration High Frequency MegaHertz-Order Nanomechanostimulation Drives Early and Persistent Osteogenic Differentiation in Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Tendon Like Tissues Created From Human Stem Cells

Tendons are the structures that connect our muscles to our bones. They are important to every movement a person does. When they become injured, it can be quite difficult to repair them. The existing therapies often are fret with complications. In a quest to remedy this, researchers have now constructed artificial tendons. They are biologically and mechanically similar to normal tendons and use human pluripotent stem cells.

In this study, a team from Tokyo Medical and Dental University successfully induced human stem cells to make artificial tendon like tissue. This new tissue copies tendon properties and offers a greatly improved reconstruction from a mouse tendon-rupture model.

The use of human pluripotent cells is important because they can be accumulated from any adult cell and then differentiated into any specialized cell-type. These cells are used with Mohawk, which is a relay factor promoting gene expression in tendon formation, to produce the artificial tendon tissue.

The team then tested the artificial tendon using a mouse model of a ruptured tendon. They were excited by the results. After 6 weeks from the implantation there were similar mechanical tendencies that are normal compared to an undamaged mouse tendon. This confirmed that it had been integrated well. They also found that the new tissue had the ability to find and use tendon cells from the host further activating the repair process.

The results show that human pluripotent stem cell-derived bio-tendons have biological and mechanical properties comparable to normal tendons. They can be entirely integrated rather quickly after transplanting them in a mouse model. The next move is to test them in larger animal models and determine if they have the capacity to be biomaterial on a larger scope.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Generation of a tendon-like tissue from human iPS cells

Vitamin A Can Improve and Lengthen Life

There are actions all of us can take in an effort to boost our odds for a long life. Some of these are staying active, getting plenty of sunlight, having a sleep rountine, eating healthy and keeping up a good mood.

The foods that we eat play a significant role at boosting your life expectancy or taking a toll on it. New research has shown that eating foods that have a high concentration of Vitamin A is associated with living longer.

For the study, the team looked at a variety of different circulating metabolites which are products of reactions in a person’s metabolism. The role that antioxidants play were also studied. These are molecules that fight off potentially free radicals that can do harm to a person’s body. They compared the presence of these to information about the participant’s lifespan.

They did not find any association between Vitamins E or C and a few others on life expectancy. But they did find that the higher concentration of Vitamin A consumed over a long time period, the more likely a person was to live longer. This link means that people with more Vitamin A in their body has an effect on their longevity.

The results cannot be generalized as the study looked at participants of European descent. They also did not distinguish whether the participants were consuming their Vitamin A through foods they ate or from supplements. The team suggests that persons eating a diet full of vitamin rich foods does not necessarily need to add a supplement.

Vitamin A is needed to maintain youthful skin, healthy hair, and better sight. It also ensures your immune and reproductive systems are working well. Some research even suggests that vitamin A might help prevent cancer and macular degeneration per information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Overall, it is important to consume vegetables and fruits that are good sources of Vitamin A such as broccoli, cantaloupe, bell peppers, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and carrots.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Association between Circulating Antioxidants and Longevity: Insight from Mendelian Randomization Study

Signs of Aging Reversed in Mice with Cellular Therapy

Age is not only a number, but a variety of things that carry unwanted side effects such as weaker muscles, brittle bones, and risks for cancer and cardiovascular disease. Scientists have now shown they can effectively and safely reverse the process of aging in elderly and middle aged mice by partly resetting their cells to more youthful conditions.

From addressing diseases that are age related, the approach may also contribute to the biomedical community with a new way of restoring organismal and tissue health. This would happen through improving cell resilience and function in a variety of different disease circumstances such a diseases that are neurodegenerative.

When organisms age, it is not just their health and outward appearances that will change. Every cell body carries a molecular clock that will record the passage of time. Cells isolated from animals or humans have a variety of different chemicals or patterns along their DNA when compared to older animals or humans. Scientists know that by adding a mixture of four reprogramming molecules known as Yamanaka Factors to cells that they have the ability to reset these epigenetic marks back to their original patterns. The approach is how scientists can dial back adult cells into stem cells.

In 2016, the lab showed they used the Yamanaka factors to increase the life span and counter aging signs in mice that had aged prematurely. Recently, the researchers discovered that even in younger mice, the Yamanaka factors may speed up muscle regeneration. In following these first observations, other researchers used the identical pathway to improve functioning of other tissues like the brain, the heart and the optic nerve.

With the new study, the team tested a variety of the cellular rejuvenation approach in animals that were health as they aged. One group received the standard dose of the Yamanaka factors beginning at 15 months old until they were 22 months old which is about ages 50 to 70 in people. A second group were treated from the age of 12 to 22 months of age which is about 35 to 70 in people. The third group was treated at age 25 months for only one month which is about the same age of 80 in people.

The team wanted to establish that the use of this approach for a longer span of time is safe. They did not see any negative side effects on the body weight, health or behavior of the animals.

When compared to a control group of animals, it was shown there were no neurological or alterations in blood cells to the mice that were given the Yamanaka factors. Also, the team did not find any cancers in the animal groups.

When the team looked at normal signs of aging in the mice that had the treatment, they discovered that the animals in a variety of ways looked like younger mice. In both the skin and kidneys, the epigenetics of the treated mice more closely resembled epigenetic patterns that were seen in the younger mice. If they had an injury, the skin cells of the treated mice were able to proliferate and were less likely to cause a permanent scar. The older mice typically show more scarring and less proliferation of skin cells.

Youthfulness was noted in the animals that received the Yamanaka factors for 7 or 10 months, but not noted in the mice that were treated for only one month. This proposes that the treatment is not just pausing aging, but is also actively turning it back, although more study is needed to differentiate the two.

The team plans on looking at more research to determine how specific genes and molecules are influenced by the treatment for a long period of time of the Yamanaka factors and are also developing newer ways of delivering them. Their goal is to bring function and resilience back to cells that are older so that they are more resistant to injury, stress and disease.

To view the original scientific study click below:
In vivo partial reprogramming alters age-associated molecular changes during physiological aging in mice

Vision Restored with Human Adult Stem Cells

New research from Boston has shown success in the regrowth of human corneal tissue from adult stem cells to restore vision. Whether corneal tissue loss is due to damage from burns, chemical injury or eye diseases it is one of the leading reasons for blindness. This new groundbreaking process has the potential to restore vision in people that are blind.

Inside the eye’s limbus reside stem cells that regenerate and maintain corneal tissue. When they are lost due to injury or disease blindness occurs. Transplants have been used in the past to regenerate corneal growth but the outcomes have not been consistent.

This is one of the first examples of tissue being constructed from adult stem cells derived from humans. The fundamental key to the success of this study is based on a molecule which is known as ABCB5. This is a biomarker for limbal stem cells that has previously been elusive. These particular cells are in the eye’s limbus, which is the cornea’s border and the white part of the eyes. They are important for recreating and maintaining corneal tissue. They have regenerative ability that researchers have striven for a while to harvest to grow human tissue in people who are blind from corneal disease or injury.

From over 10 years ago, the teams at the lab of the lead researcher discovered the essential ABCB5 molecule. It was seen in the skin and the intestine precursor cells. They discovered that the ABCB5 was an integral part of the eye’s limbus due to it preventing the cells from dying. To show another role of ABCB5’s in the eye, the team used mice divided into two groups. One group had a ABCB5 gene that was non-functional and the other group possessed a ABCB5 gene that was totally functioning. The mice who lacked the ABCB5 gene lost all of their limbal stem cell population, thus they could not repair any injuries to the corneas.

The team obtained corneal tissue from human deceased donors. They used antibodies that will bind to ABCB5 to find the limbal stem cells. After they were located, they removed them from the donor’s tissue and they were transplanted into the mice in which the limbal stem cells had been extracted. Their prediction was realized as fully corneal tissue derived from the deceased human donors was created in the mice which restored their vision. But the process only worked only when the crucial ABCB5 molecule was present in the limbal stem cells.

They will continue their study of ABCB5 to see if it could be used in a similar function for isolating skin stem cells for the use of transplantation. They do note that it has changed the game for adult stem cell research due to its identity as a molecular marker.

To view the original scientific study click below:
ABCB5 is a limbal stem cell gene required for corneal development and repair

The Best Fruit to Prevent Aging

As you think about what to drink and eat to help with aging, have you ever wondered what is the best fruit for anti-aging?

It may be surprising that it is the avocado! But how can it help make your brain sharper?

A randomized trial by researchers at Tufts University analyzed the results from participants separated into two groups. The first group ate an avocado every day for six months while the others ate either one cup of chickpeas or one potato every day.

At the end of the trial, the participants who consumed the avocados had an increased level of lutein which is related to memory and cognitive function.

The research is promising for healthy aging. As people age, they are paying more attention to their health and a simple dietary addition such as the avocado can be a part of good nutrition for all ages.

Avocados are beneficial due to their amount of magnesium. Magnesium is critical to life as it is contained in every cell in the body and is also important for carrying out a variety of bodily functions. One avocado contains almost 60 milligrams of magnesium which amounts to 15% of the daily recommended amount.

Magnesium not only works in the brain for cognitive support and mood, but also outside the brain in the blood vessels. It acts as a vasodilator which dilates the vessels which increases blood flow to the brain.

Avocados are also high in both monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids About 60% of the brain is composed of fat and one half of that is omega-3 type fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent the onset of cognitive diseases such as slow mental decline and Alzheimer’s. The brain needs Omega-3 fatty acids to make nerve cells which are critical to one’s ability to learn and to memory.

So keep your brain sharp by adding avocados to your diet.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Avocado Consumption Increases Macular Pigment Density in Older Adults: A Randomized, Controlled Trial

Higher Body Fat Associated with Reduced Thinking and Memory Ability

A recent study has shown that people with a high degree of body fat are at risk for a reduction in their cognitive function. Even when vascular brain injuries or cardiovascular risks were taken into consideration, the link associated with body fat and cognitive scores being lower remained the same. This has suggested that not yet confirmed pathways link cognitive function reduction and excess body fat.

There were 9,166 people that participated in the study. The participants were between the ages of 30 and 75 with the average age being 58. A little over 56% were women and they all lived in Poland or Canada. They were mostly of white European descent and around 17% were other ethnicities. Anyone with known cardiovascular disease were excluded.

To access their total body fat they were measured by bioelectrical impedance analysis. 6,733 participants had an MRI to measure visceral fat which was packed around organs. It also assessed vascular body injury in the brain affected by a reduction in blood flow.

The results have suggested that strategies to reduce or prevent a person with too much fat in their body may preserve their cognitive function.

The effects of an increase in body fat continued even after the team adjusted for increasing cardiovascular risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes and vascular brain injury. This should encite scientists to investigate other pathways that could link excess fat to a reduction in cognitive function.

The team says that preserving cognitive function is one of the greatest ways to help the prevention of dementia in older age. The study suggests that one way to do this would be physical activity and good nutrition to help maintain a healthy body fat and weight percentage.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Evaluation of Adiposity and Cognitive Function in Adults

Stem Cells That Can Facilitate Advances in Regeneration of Organs

In a global-first, researchers from Chinese Academy of Sciences and BGI-Research and other partners, have announced the discovery of a rapid, transgene-free, and controllable way to change pluripotent stem cells into authentic 8 cell totipotent embryo-like cells. This paves the way for future advances in synthetic biology and regeneration of organs.

The teams used the technologies of advanced single-cell sequencing from BGI to assist in changing pluripotent stem cells or an adult type of early embryonic cells into a juvenile type. This ensures that it will activate human zygotic genome and keep all the lineage along with the potential of development.

The cells could possibly be useful in prospective regenerative medicine for human organs that are diseased and would also reduce the reliance on donation of organs. They could be used to build artificial blastoids and blastocysts. They also would be useful in the study of human embryonic development, prevent pregnancy loss and help treat related diseases that develop early.

This technology that changes pluripotent stem cells into inner cell mass-like cells inside the blastocyst has been around for a while. In this new study scientists have been able to establish methods that change pluripotent stem cells to an early phase in the human development cycle that equals the 8 cell embryo. This will provide insight into the development of the human embryonic system. Essentially the team showed that the cells that were converted could create placental cells in vivo which is the only time this has been achieved.

Totipotent 8 cell stage embryo like cells recreate an embryonic state of an egg that has been fertilized following only three divisions. In comparison to the reported pluripotent stem cells, these distinct cells will not only change into placental tissue, but can possibly develop into a more mature organ which is good news for the number of patients needing transplants all over the globe.

The breakthrough is in addition a great portrayal of the combination of the technology of single cell sequencing and regenerative medicine. Through single cell large scale multi-omics profiling the precise and efficient identification of tissues or cells obtained in vivo or in vitro by stem cell technology will considerably speed up research on regenerative medicine.

At the early phase of development these cells can be reported as totipotent which means they have the possibility of creating all types of early embryonic cells. This in turn will create the organs and tissues which are required for development and adds to early work with plenipotentiary stem cells at the blastocyst stage. This is a point where cells have the possibility to create a more restricted range of different tissues and cells.

The team who conducted the research treated pluripotent stem cells with a cocktail of chemicals to create the 8-cell embryo like cells. Other experiments that were done was sorting and injecting these cells into a mouse for further development and then examined using BGI’s single cell genomic analysis. The innovative technology was able to help researchers find and isolate the target 8-cell embryo like cells and show their totipotent capacity to establish the cells which can generate the placenta in vivo.

These advances could eventually bring about individualized regeneration of organs a reality. Currently the only way that is available for people in need of an organ transplant is through a donor that matches and this course of action is not without problems. Transplant failure can occur if the donor’s serotype is not close enough to the recipients. Another procedure which is designed to modify organs of animals for transplantation to people through gene editing is also in its early stages.

The achievement also shows a new in vitro system of key research on early embryonic development that helps the team discern the relationship between it and the occurrence of diseases. It is also a resource for the treatment and study of various development diseases such as birth defects.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Rolling back of human pluripotent stem cells to an 8-cell embryo-like stage