Scientists hone in on activity in the blood-brain barrier as the culprit
Wellcome Images/Science Source
Old blood can prematurely age the brains of young mice, and scientists may now be closer to understanding how. A protein located in the cells that form a barrier between the brain and blood could be partly to blame, experiments on mice suggest.
If something similar happens in humans, scientists say, methods for countering the protein may hold promise for treating age-related brain decline.
The preliminary study, published online January 3 at bioRxiv.org, focused on a form of the protein known as VCAM1, which interacts with immune cells in response to inflammation. As mice and humans age, levels of that protein circulating in the blood rise, Alzheimer researcher Tony Wyss-Coray at Stanford University and colleagues found.
After injecting young mice behind an eye with plasma from old mice, the team discovered that VCAM1 levels also rose in certain parts of the blood