Effects of aging are reversed by putting young mouse poop in old mice

It sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, but it’s based on cold, hard, printed research: Transplanting fecal microbes from young mice into old mice seems to be the main signs of aging in the gut, eyes, and brain of humans. older animals.

Further experiments showed that it also works the other way – moving microbes from the poop of old mice to younger mice caused the younger animals to show signs of aging, including increased inflammation in the brain and a reduction in a key protein. which is necessary for normal vision.

It’s by no means a recipe for eternal youth, but as we age, we naturally become more susceptible to wear and tear and disease, in part because of the way our guts deteriorate. These experiments show that something can be done about this, although so far only the guts of mice have been tested.

“Here we tested the hypothesis that manipulating the gut microbiota influences the development of important co-morbidities associated with aging and in particular inflammation affecting the brain and retina,” the researchers write in their published paper.

Increased inflammation around the brain and retinas in the eyes usually occurs as we age, while age-related chronic inflammation — called “inflammatory” — has been linked to specific immune cells.

When the poo microbes were transferred from young to old mice, this inflammation showed signs of reversal. When the transplant was moved the other way, the younger mice started to show signs of gut aging and inflammation.

These signs include a loss of integrity in the gut lining (allowing bacteria to get into the blood), increased levels of proteins associated with retinal degeneration, and the overactivation of the immune cells linked to inflammation.

“Our results demonstrate that the age-related changes in the mouse gut microbiota contribute to disrupted gut barrier integrity and systemic and tissue inflammation affecting the retina and brain, but these changes can be reversed by replacement with young donor microbiota,” the authors write. researchers. †

Scientific studies are giving us more and more insight into all the different ways our gut microbes are linked to our health – whether that be mental health problems like anxiety or physical health problems like obesity.

In other words, the mix of bacteria in our gut really matters, and changing that mix — whether through diet or fecal transplants — has the potential to trigger a variety of different health benefits.

Now there’s another option worth exploring for researchers. Future studies are planned to see how long the positive effects of these fecal transplants can last, and which gut microbes in particular control the effects that are seen. Then scientists can investigate whether it could also work in humans.

“This groundbreaking study provides tantalizing evidence for the direct involvement of gut microbes in aging and the functional decline of brain function and vision, and offers a potential solution in the form of gut microbe replacement therapy,” said gut biologist Simon Carding, of the University of East Anglia in the UK.

The research was published in Microbiome

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