- With age, the efficiency of cells decreases
- Regenerative biology makes it possible to regenerate stem cells from these old cells
- These stem cells have a hard time returning the specificity of their function.
To get baby skin after 30 years? if it’s possible. And the way to achieve it goes far beyond satisfying the beauty craze. This is neither greater nor less than the possibility of reprogramming the cells into stem cells by rewinding the aging clock of these cells without losing their specialized function. The work, by researchers from the Babraham Institute, was published in the journal eLife.
Regenerate differentiated cells from stem cells
What is this about? As we age, our cells lose their ability to function and our genome accumulates these signs of aging. But regenerative biology makes it possible to “repair” old cells in a multi-step process, each of which erases the marks that make them distinctive. Finally, we end up with stem cells that can potentially develop into any specialized cell. But the approach has a problem that aims to use regenerative biology to “rejuvenate” cells: we don’t yet know how to reliably make the redistribution of these stem cells into specialized cells. A bit as though resetting your computer is preventing you from recovering all of its software.
And it is this difficulty represented by the erasure of cellular identity that the work of the Babraham Institute has just overcome. Quite simply speaking, by disrupting reprogramming, it’s time to determine the point of equilibrium where cells are actually biologically rejuvenated but are still able to regain their specialized function.
Cells reprogrammed to resemble cells 30 years younger
Briefly, this method involves interrupting the reprogramming process that normally lasts 50 days on day 13. At this stage, age-related modifications are suppressed but the integration of key molecules of the desired specialization allows the cell to continue its development in its specific function. By working on skin cells, the scientists thus obtained reprogrammed cells that corresponded to the profile of cells 30 years younger! And these cells not only look “younger”, but above all they act like young cells. To use the comparison used above, it looks like resetting your computer enabled all of its software to be updated!
The first possible use of this method, since it was developed from skin cells, was promising to be able to use it quickly to create cells capable of better healing wounds. But progress goes much further: “This work has very exciting implications as we may soon be able to identify genes that reprogram cells without reprogramming and specifically target those that reduce the effects of aging. We do.“, says Dr. Diljit Gill, who conducted this research.
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