A study has found that humans can effectively reverse aging in middle-aged and elderly mice by playing with epigenetic factors which reset the cells to be younger. Carried out by Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Genentech, the study was published in Nature Aging.
Aging makes bodies produce cells and tissues copies that aren’t entirely clean, causing our bones to become prone to breaking, our muscles to get weaker, and skin to get thinner and wrinklier. Cells undergo changes in epigenetic markers, identified by scientists as the Yamanaka factors. The identified four molecules are protein transcription factors, aiding in stem development. Professor Shinya Yamanaka used the molecules in 2006 to create stem cells from adult fibroblasts.
Previously, the Yamanaka factors have been used to reduce aging and prolong lifespan in mice with premature aging disease. In the recent study, the same epigenetic factors were reset in cells, but this time in healthy mice. While there was no negative impact of the treatment and an incident of cancer, there was no significant improvement or change in ordinary aging. These were mice at the end of their lifespan treated for a month.
The other two groups of mice were treated for seven to ten months, and they showed improvements and reversal of aging. The skin, organs, and epigenetic factors seemed to have improved after the treatment, showing a robust ability to heal with less scarring.
The longer the treatment was given, the better results it showed, implying that consistent treatment over time in individuals will produce the highest impact.