Protein helps old blood age the brains of young mice | Science News

Support Science Journalism

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


News in Brief

Protein helps old blood age the brains of young mice

Scientists hone in on activity in the blood-brain barrier as the culprit

By
7:00am, January 11, 2018
mouse brain capillary

NO BARRIER A protein in some cells that form the blood-brain barrier (light blue, as seen in this image of a mouse brain capillary) may have a hand in brain aging, a new study suggests. 

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

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content