The University of Cambridge researchers found that removing a protein that detects hardening of brain tissue in rat brain cells hardened by aging causes the cells to rejuvenate. Through this study, the cause of multiple sclerosis, which shows various symptoms of brain function decline and nerve damage due to aging, is expected to progress greatly.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which symptoms such as visual impairment are caused by damage to the oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPC) among the tissues called myelin sheaths. Decreased OPC regenerative function due to aging is a factor of multiple sclerosis, but even in healthy people, brain cells age, which can have various effects on cognitive and motor functions.
The University of Cambridge research team extracted hardened OPCs from elderly mice and transplanted them into soft brain tissues of young mice to determine whether hardening is reversible. As a result, the cured OPC restored its original flexibility and began to regenerate actively like young cells.
To further confirm the results of this experiment, the research team developed a flexible material such as the brain tissue of young mice and a material that is not flexible like the brain tissue of old mice and cultivated two materials OPC. As a result, it was confirmed that even young OPCs lost their regenerative function when cultured on hard materials. On the contrary, OPCs cultured on soft materials were getting younger as in the above experiment.
The team removed a protein called PIEZO1 from OPC to elucidate the mechanism by which OPC rejuvenates. PIEZO1 is a protein that exists on the surface of cells and is known to act as a sensor that transmits softness or hardening of surrounding tissues to cells.
When the OPC from which PIEZO1 was removed was cultivated on a hard material, it was found that it became young as it was when cultured on a soft material. The research team explained that they were able to regain normal regenerative function by rejuvenating aged cells by tricking cells into thinking they were in a young environment.
Experts said that multiple sclerosis is a difficult disease that accompanies pain and disability, and that the cause of the disease needs to be determined. Related information can be found here .