The March Journal Club hosted by Dr. Oliver Medvedik will focus on this recent study that showed transplanting the bone marrow of young laboratory mice into old mice prevented cognitive decline in the old mice, preserving their memory and learning abilities. These findings support the idea that cognitive decline is in part due to the aging of blood cells, which are produced in the bone marrow.
Restoration of cognitive function in old mice by transfer of blood or plasma from young mice has been attributed to reduced C–C motif chemokine ligand 11 (CCL11) and β2-microglobulin, which are thought to suppress neurogenesis in the aging brain. However, the specific role of the hematopoietic system in this rejuvenation has not been defined and the importance of neurogenesis in old mice is unclear. Here we report that transplantation of young bone marrow to rejuvenate the hematopoietic system preserved cognitive function in old recipient mice, despite irradiation-induced suppression of neurogenesis, and without reducing β2-microglobulin. Instead, young bone marrow transplantation preserved synaptic connections and reduced microglial activation in the hippocampus. Circulating CCL11 levels were lower in young bone marrow recipients, and CCL11 administration in young mice had the opposite effect, reducing synapses and increasing microglial activation. In conclusion, young blood or bone marrow may represent a future therapeutic strategy for neurodegenerative disease.
Das, M. M., Godoy, M., Chen, S., Moser, V. A., Avalos, P., Roxas, K. M., … & Arditi, M. (2019). Young bone marrow transplantation preserves learning and memory in old mice. Communications biology, 2(1), 73.