Longevity Briefs: Ageing Blood Stem Cells Linked to Cognitive Decline

Posted on 17 September 2020

Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: We know that blood from older organisms contains circulating factors that can accelerate brain ageing. Many of the age‐related changes observed in ‘old blood’ are thought to be caused, at least in part, by the ageing of haematopoietic stem cells (HPCs) – the cells that give rise to other blood cells within the bone marrow.

What did the researchers do: To study the effects of an ageing haematopoietic system on the brain, researchers transplanted young mice with HPCs from either 2 month or 24 month old donors. They then measured their cognitive function and blood factors.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: Transplantation of old HPCs was associated with cognitive decline, specifically in memory tests dependant on the hippocampus. Researchers also found that a blood factor called cyclophilin A (CyPA) was elevated in young mice that received old HPCs, and acts as a pro‐ageing factor. Inhibiting CyPA in aged mice led to improved cognition. These results suggest that the ageing of HPCs can drive age-related decline of the hippocampus.

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