Ageing: Blood ties.
The brain's ability to generate new neurons declines with age. This reduction is mediated by increased levels of an inflammatory factor in the blood of ageing mice and is associated with deficits in learning and memory. See Letter p.90
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ABSTRACT: As mammals age, the rate of neurogenesis in the brain declines with a concomitant reduction in cognitive ability. Recent data suggest that plasma-borne factors are responsible for inhibition of neurogenesis. When the circulatory systems of old and young mice are connected, the old mice experience increased neurogenesis and the young mice exhibit less neurogenesis, suggesting the importance of systemic circulating factors. Chemokine CCL11/eotaxin has been identified as a factor that increases with aging. Injections of CCL11 inhibit neurogenesis in young mice, an effect likely mediated by CCR3 receptors on neural stem cells. Identification of a specific factor that plays a causative role in stem cell dysfunction in aging is consistent with data showing that transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) inhibits satellite cell-mediated repair. Together, these data suggest that the systemic milieu plays a critical role in the aging of adult stem cells. Because adult stem cells help maintain homeostasis by providing the possibility of replacing metabolically damaged differentiated cells, aging of the systemic milieu and stem cell niches may drive functional decline during aging. The identification of a specific systemic change suggests that aging is more amenable to therapeutic modulation than work on global metabolism-derived damage and cellular senescence implies.Rejuvenation Research 12/2011; 14(6):681-4. DOI:10.1089/rej.2011.1301 · 3.31 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The adaptive arm of the immune system has been suggested as an important factor in brain function. However, given the fact that interactions of neurons or glial cells with T lymphocytes rarely occur within the healthy CNS parenchyma, the underlying mechanism is still a mystery. Here we found that at the interface between the brain and blood circulation, the epithelial layers of the choroid plexus (CP) are constitutively populated with CD4(+) effector memory cells with a T-cell receptor repertoire specific to CNS antigens. With age, whereas CNS specificity in this compartment was largely maintained, the cytokine balance shifted in favor of the T helper type 2 (Th2) response; the Th2-derived cytokine IL-4 was elevated in the CP of old mice, relative to IFN-γ, which decreased. We found this local cytokine shift to critically affect the CP epithelium, triggering it to produce the chemokine CCL11 shown to be associated with cognitive dysfunction. Partial restoration of cognitive ability in aged mice, by lymphopenia-induced homeostasis-driven proliferation of memory T cells, was correlated with restoration of the IL-4:IFN-γ ratio at the CP and modulated the expression of plasticity-related genes at the hippocampus. Our data indicate that the cytokine milieu at the CP epithelium is affected by peripheral immunosenescence, with detrimental consequences to the aged brain. Amenable to immunomodulation, this interface is a unique target for arresting age-related cognitive decline.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2013; 110(6). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1211270110 · 9.67 Impact Factor
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