Zombie cells are the ones that can’t die but are equally unable to perform the functions of a normal cell. These zombie, or senescent, cells are implicated in a number of age-related diseases. And with a new letter in Nature, Mayo Clinic researchers have expanded that list.
In a mouse model of brain disease, scientists report that senescent cells accumulate in certain brain cells prior to cognitive loss. By preventing the accumulation of these cells, they were able to diminish tau protein aggregation, neuronal death and memory loss.
“Senescent cells are known to accumulate with advancing natural age and at sites related to diseases of aging, including osteoarthritis; atherosclerosis; and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” says Darren Baker, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic molecular biologist and senior author of the paper. “In prior studies, we have found that elimination of senescent cells from naturally aged mice extends their healthy life span.”
In the current study, the team used a model that imitates aspects of Alzheimer’s disease.
“We used a mouse model that produces sticky, cobweb like tangles of tau protein in neurons and has genetic modifications to allow for senescent cell elimination,” explains first author Tyler Bussian, a Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences student who is part of Dr. Baker’s lab. “When senescent cells were removed, we found that the diseased animals retained the ability to form memories, eliminated signs of inflammation, did not develop neurofibrillary tangles, and had maintained normal brain mass.” They also report that pharmacological intervention to remove senescent cells modulated the clumping of tau proteins.
Also, the team was able to identify the specific type of cell that became senescent, says Dr. Baker.
“Two different brain cell types called ‘microglia’ and ‘astrocytes’ were found to be senescent when we looked at brain tissue under the microscope,” says Bussian. “These cells are important supporters of neuronal health and signaling, so it makes sense that senescence in either would negatively impact neuron health.”
The finding was somewhat surprising, explains Dr. Baker, because at the time their research started, a causal link between senescent cells and neurodegenerative disease had not been established.
“We had no idea whether senescent cells actively contributed to disease pathology in the brain, and to find that it’s the astrocytes and microglia that are prone to senescence is somewhat of a surprise, as well,” says Dr. Baker.
In terms of future work, Dr. Baker explains that this research lays out the best-case scenario, where prevention of damage to the brain avoided the disease state. “Clearly, this same approach cannot be applied clinically, so we are starting to treat animals after disease establishment and working on new models to examine the specific molecular alterations that occur in the affected cells,” says Dr. Baker.
The Latest on: Senescent cells
via Google News
The Latest on: Senescent cells
- New research reverses aging in human cells on December 17, 2018 at 5:22 pm
The study was led by the University of Exeter. It was conducted in human cells in laboratories. Aged, or senescent, cells are thought to represent a driver of the aging process and other groups ... […]
- Antibiotics eliminate senescent cells associated with ageing on November 28, 2018 at 4:50 am
Antibiotics have emerged as potentially lifespan-enhancing drugs, according to the results of new research carried out in the UK. Genetic experiments that eliminate "senescent" cells – older ... […]
- New drug could combat the aging process on November 22, 2018 at 3:33 pm
The properties of the chemical Fisetin that intrigues researchers are the way the substance assists with the clearance of damaged, senescent cells. Fisetin is a plant polyphenol and one of the flavono... […]
- The First Therapy that Targets Aging is in Human Trials Now on November 11, 2018 at 10:48 am
Today, we think that it is the ideal time to have a look at how they work and what companies are involved. Senescent cells and aging As we get older, more and more of the cells in our bodies become dy... […]
- A Possible Victory in the Battle Against Aging on October 26, 2018 at 4:25 am
Campisi’s research is on the role of cellular senescence in cancer and other age-related diseases. Senescent cells undergo a transition into a twilight state where they are still active but no longer ... […]
- Clearing senescent cells from the brain in mice preserves cognition on October 22, 2018 at 6:20 am
Out-of-commission cells that clutter the brain may accelerate dementia, according to researchers who found that getting rid of such cells preserved cognitive function in mice. The NIA-funded research ... […]
- Clearing out brain's "zombie cells" offers new approach against dementia on September 19, 2018 at 7:07 pm
Zombie cells, aka senescent cells, have been found to accumulate in the brain ahead of the toxic protein build-ups that are generally implicated in Alzheimer's disease and dementia(Credit: Mayo Clinic ... […]
- Don’t Be a Zombie: Senolytics, Exercise and Fasting Fight Off Senescent Cells on July 25, 2018 at 11:09 am
Weakness comes with old age. But does it have to? Credit: kali9. There’s no question that humans are living longer than they used to. But are they living healthier for longer? Based on a 2010 study fr... […]
- Drugs that kill off old cells may limit a body’s aging on July 10, 2018 at 8:32 am
Over time, as animals age, more and more cells enter senescence, a process that's thought to contribute to aging. But it has gradually become apparent that senescent cells don't just continue performi... […]
via Bing News