The transfusion led to an increase in the number of senescent cells – which accumulate with age – in the young mice, suggesting that cellular aging is not simply a case of wear and tear


August 5, 2022

Transfusing blood from an old mouse into a younger rodent can age the latter animal

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Transfusing young mice with blood from older rodents rapidly induces senescence, suggesting that cellular aging is not simply a case of wear and tear.

A long-standing hypothesis called parabiosis theorizes that surgically bonding an old mouse to a young rodent causes a blood transfer that shortens the age of the older animal. Although this benefits the older mouse, the effects on the young donor rodent are less clear.

To learn more Irina Conboy at the University of California, Berkeley, and her colleagues transfused blood between young mice three months old and those approaching two years old.

Two weeks later, the young mice had increased numbers of senescent cells – cells in the liver, kidneys and muscles that are damaged but not dying or dividing. These cells accumulate as a normal part of aging, which begins after a few years of life in humans.

Strength tests also revealed that the young mice became weaker after receiving the blood of the older rodents.

Overall, the results suggest that senescent cells can be induced in young animals outside of chronological aging.

“Cellular senescence is only part of the aging process,” says Conboy. “This opens up new horizons and helps explain why the Cenolithic [drugs that clear senescent cells in the body] so far, clinical trials have been less successful than people had hoped.

The experiment could also help researchers trying to tackle the health problems of aging.

“This is a very exciting study that highlights a potential anti-aging treatment,” says Roman Bauer at the University of Surrey in the UK.

Bauer emphasizes how the previous research shows that clearing senescent cells from mice rejuvenates their blood. Referring to the Berkeley study, he said: “The study also demonstrates potential for senolytics, so drugs that eliminate senescent cells, which we are also currently investigating for cancer treatment.”

Journal reference: Metabolism of nature, DOI:

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