Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray kept its youth by only aging in a painting, thanks to a curse. Since humans cannot magically preserve their youth through black magic, fecal transplants are being studied as the next fountain of youth that could roll back the biological clock.
It is exactly as you imagine it: the excrement of one individual is taken and given to another. It may look like a hoax; However, a new study by scientists from the Quadram Institute and the University of East Anglia has found that the technique is indeed based on rigorous, printed research, as faecal transplants from young to old mice reversed some of the characteristics of aging, especially on the brain. and the eyes.
This is by no means a recipe for eternal youth. However, as we age, we become more susceptible to disease, in part because our intestines break down over time. Although only mouse intestines have been tested so far, these experiments suggest that something can be done to address this issue.
An unlikely way to reverse the clock
The community of bacteria we carry in our gut, commonly known as the gut microbiota, has long been linked to our health. In fact, changes in the types and behavior of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms in an individual’s gut can be linked to the majority of diseases.
For example, these changes in microbiota composition can occur as humans age, which has been linked to age-related conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, metabolic and neurodegenerative.
To understand the implications of these changes in the microbiota that occur as humans age, a team of scientists from the Quadram Institute transplanted gut microbes from older mice into healthy young mice and vice versa and examined how this affected inflammatory markers of aging in the gut. , the brain and the eyes, all of which suffer from deterioration of function with age.
Reverse aging with the microbiota of young donors
Researchers found that the microbiota of elderly donors caused a loss of gastric mucosal integrity, allowing bacterial metabolites to enter the bloodstream and triggering the immune system and inflammation in the brain and eyes, according to the published study. in the review Microbiome. Additionally, inflammation, or chronic age-related inflammation, has been linked to the activation of particular immune cells located in the brain, and these cells were also overactive in young mice that received older microbiota transplants. .
“Our results demonstrate that age-associated changes in the murine gut microbiota contribute to disruption of gut barrier integrity and systemic and tissue inflammation affecting the retina and brain, but these changes can be reversed. replacing them with microbiota from young donors,” the researchers wrote. .
Next, the team will work to determine how long these positive effects can last, as well as identify the beneficial components of the young donor’s microbiota and how they affect organs other than the gut. Then, scientists can start exploring whether the technique would also work in humans.