According to a new study that was published in the journal Nature, memory problems associated with old age (in mice) can be reversed by taking cerebrospinal fluid from young miceThe study essentially examined the link between memory and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the composition of which changes with age
Scientists recently "rejuvenated" old mice using injections containing brain fluid sourced from younger mice. According to a new study that was published in the journal Nature, memory problems associated with old age (in mice) can be reversed by taking cerebrospinal fluid from young mice.
The study essentially examined the link between memory and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the composition of which changes with age.
Investigating how CSF relieves signs of ageing
To investigate how such changes affects the function of cells in an ageing brain, the researchers took older mice (18-22 months old) and gave them light shocks on the foot. At the same time, a tone and flashing light were activated.
Then the mice were split into groups and given young mouse CSF (from mice 10 weeks old) or an artificial form of CSF. It's imperative to mention that if mice "freeze" after seeing the tone and light, it means they're expecting another foot shock.
Representational Image: Unsplash
In the study, three weeks after the foot shocks were administered, the researchers found that mice that received CSF from younger mice had above average freezing rates. This means that they had better memory.
Brain fluid not necessary
In follow up experiments, scientists found that certain genes could be used to elicit the same response without extracting brain fluid from younger mice. "An infusion of a fibroblast growth factor called FGF17" was able to boost "oligodendrocytes" - the cells that create myelin, a material that "covers and insulates neuron fibers." This, in turn, helped older mice improve their memory ability. What does this mean? Quite simply, that therapies that directly access the CSF could be useful in treating memory-related illnesses like dementia.
Don't get too excited! There's still a long road ahead for such experiments before they may be used to improve memory in old humans. What this study essentially proves is that acquiring brain fluids of younger humans may not be necessary to improve memory retention among the old, and that it could also be an interesting line of enquiry.
Bowler, J. (2022). Old Mice “Rejuvenated” With Injections of Brain Fluid From The Young. ScienceAlert.
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