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The bone marrow is home to the haematopoietic stem cells that give rise to blood cell lines. These cells play a role in maintaining tissue homeostasis, but their function declines with age, contributing to problems such as immunosenescence and ultimately reduced organ function.
A study has reported that transplantation of bone marrow from young mice into older mice has a number of benefits, including improved repair following myocardial infarction, and improved learning and memory linked to anti-inflammatory effects in the brain.
It is feasible that bone marrow transplantation could be similarly beneficial in humans. Widespread use of the procedure as an anti-ageing therapy is unlikely. However, this research may help pave the way to a better understanding of bone marrow ageing, which would in turn allow for the development of gene or drug-based therapies.
Although this rejuvenation approach is effective, the methods used to transplant young cells have side effects as they require irradiation or chemotherapy. Future rejuvenation approaches which target the stem cell microenvironment comprising of bone marrow niche and stem/progenitor cells may promote in-situ rejuvenation without the need for transplant procedures. Moreover, understanding the effect bone marrow rejuvenation has on the host environment will be essential as bone marrow transplant only replaces dysfunctional aged cells with functional young cells.Aging. (2020). Retrieved 14 February 2020, from https://www.aging-us.com/article/102838/text
Targeting aged bone marrow for systemic rejuvenation: https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.102838