Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have taken skin cells from donors of different ages and transformed them into brain cells that reflect their donors’ ages. This is the first time researchers have been able to create ageing human brain cells from older people’s skin cells rather than from old brains.
The results will not only advance research into ageing, but could aid in the continued quest to create new cells to repair or replace damaged organs.
The new findings address a major problem in this field. There are several ways to force cells to switch from one type to another, but scientists haven’t been sure how the neurons made from a skin cell differ from the neurons that develop normally in people’s brains. The earliest method for reprogramming cells set the ageing clock back to zero, because the skin cells first had to be turned into a type of stem cell similar to those in early embryos. This newer technique, first developed at Stanford University, in which a series of biochemical tweaks switched skin cells directly into brain cells.
This age-specific brain cell testing holds the keys to understanding how human neurons age — and how we can reverse the effects of ageing and eradicate diseases like ALS , Alzheimer’s & Parkinsons. Expansions of this cell-transforming technique might enable us to produce organoids which are even more realistic three-dimensional models of human organs.
Imagine being able to rejuvenate your mind regardless of age and stay as mentally sharp as your younger colleagues.
To you all keeping your marbles well into your twilight years.