A method of "reloading" old cells and their rejuvenation has been developed

Scientists at Stanford University Medical School have developed technology to rejuvenate old cells. To achieve this goal, they used a method previously used to reverse the development of adult cells - turning them into stem cells, which are a kind of "blanks" for the production of all kinds of cells. The essence of the technology is that cells are forced to synthesize special proteins called Yamanaka factors. These peptides trigger a reverse course of time in the cells.

The transformation of an adult cell into a stem cell is a "rollback" to its germinal state. Scientists have suggested that the course of the cell clock can be stopped earlier by turning an older cell into a young cell rather than an infant cell. Scientists decided to try the technology in the elderly cells of skin and blood vessels, introducing a special "programmed" RNA molecule, which includes the production of Yamanaka factors in the cell.

Thus, specialists managed to rejuvenate skin cells by an average of 3.5 years, and blood vessel cells - by 7.5 years. First of all, the rejuvenation has affected the metabolic processes: cells have better-absorbed nutrients and faster to get rid of waste.

Another object of study was joint cartilage cells taken from elderly people with osteoarthritis. It turned out that "reprogramming" with the help of Yamanaka factors leads to a decrease in the synthesis of inflammatory substances, as well as allows rejuvenated cells to quickly divide and replace damaged cartilage with new ones. 

Experts have found that rejuvenation occurs not only at the functional level but also at the genetic level: under the influence of factors, Yamanaka erased methyl tags on a DNA molecule - a kind of "notches" that appear in different areas of the hereditary spiral under the influence of various factors and contribute to the activation or suppression of certain genes. The destruction of methyl tags makes it possible to return the cells to "factory settings".  

All cells in the body have the ability to rejuvenate on their own," the authors of the study emphasize, "but over the years, this ability is gradually lost, which leads to general aging of tissues. 

Scientists believe that further work in this direction will lead to the creation of technologies that allow "rejuvenate" not only individual cells but the whole tissues and even organs. 

March 26, 2020, 11:41 a.m.

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