Rejuvenate the brain, moving the biological clock back in time of neuronal cells. What may seem like science fiction today could become reality in the future. To suggest it, are the results of a study conducted by researchers of theStanford University in the USA, published today on Nature. The research is conducted on laboratory mice, but the results promise new possible therapeutic avenues for dementia and neurodegenerative diseases. The US work team noted that the injection of young cerebrospinal fluid into the brains of old mice generates memory improvements in older guinea pigs. The cerebrospinal fluid said liquor it is the liquid substance that protects the brain inside the skull.
According to the study, the cerebrospinal fluid of younger animals it would then be able to restore the function of older neural cells. As an integral part of the brain, cerebrospinal fluid supplies brain cells with nutrients, signaling molecules, and growth factors, but its role in brain aging is not yet known. The results, the authors say, demonstrate the potential rejuvenating properties of cerebrospinal fluid for the brain.
It is good to remember that the aging of the brain increases the cognitive decline and together with it, the risk of dementia and neurodegenerative diseases. And therefore, understanding how systemic factors affect the brain throughout life could shed light on potential treatments to slow brain aging.
To test the potential rejuvenating properties of CSF, the researchers infused CSF from ten-week-old mice into the brains of older, 18-month-old mice. The study showed that young cerebrospinal fluid increases the stimulation of cells called oligodendrocyte precursor cells – which have the potential to regenerate oligodendrocytes (a type of neural cell) and myelin (a fatty material that protects nerve cells) – aInside the hippocampus, the memory center of the brain.
To determine the mechanisms underlying these effects, the authors looked at the signaling channels activated from the young cerebrospinal fluid. A transcription factor (known as SRF) was found to mediate the effects of young CSF on oligodendrocyte precursor cells, and the expression of this factor decreased in the hippocampus of older mice. The authors also identify a growth factor (known as Fgf17) as a candidate for inducing SRF reporting. The expression of the growth factor Fgf17 has been shown to decrease in aged mice. However, infusion of growth factor in aged mice reproduces the effects seen with infusion of young CSF, inducing proliferation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells and improving memory function.
These results identify the Fgf17 growth factor as a potential rejuvenating factor for the aging brain. Not only that, it suggests that new drug delivery routes that allow direct access to cerebrospinal fluid could be useful in the treatment of dementia, the authors conclude.