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Young Mouse, Old Mouse

May 5, 2014

Scientists use blood from young animals to restore the function of damaged tissue in older animals.



Youthful blood. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The blood of young animals can rejuvenate old ones, according to three new studies. In the journal Science, Harvard biologist Lee Rubin and his colleagues report connecting the circulatory systems of young and old mice. New blood vessels grew in the old mice’s brains, stimulating production of new brain cells. In addition, injection of a blood factor called GDF11, isolated from the young mouse blood, had a similar effect.

Lee Rubin (Harvard University):

We’re interested to see if GDF-11 can in and of itself produce cognitive improvements in aging mice. We’d also be interested in exploring its role in addressing some of the negative consequences of neurodegenerative disease.


While the work is a long way from finding use in humans, he says it demonstrates that even after brain tissue hás been damaged by aging or disease, it could be at least partially restored. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.