Want to stay young forever? Researchers develop method that reverses ageing in human skin cells by 30 years | Health News

UK researchers have developed a method to “jump forward” human skin cells by 30 years, turning back the clock on cell aging without losing their specialized function. The team at the Babraham Institute at the University of Cambridge has been able to partially restore function to older cells, as well as rejuvenate molecular measures of biological age. Although the findings, published in the journal eLife, are at an early stage of exploration, they could revolutionize regenerative medicine.

The new method overcomes the problem of completely erasing the cell’s identity by stopping reprogramming part of the way. This allowed the researchers to find the precise balance between reprogramming cells, making them biologically younger, while still being able to regain their specialized cellular function.

In 2007, Shinya Yamanaka was the first scientist to convert normal cells, which have a specific function, into stem cells that have the special ability to become any type of cell. The entire stem cell reprogramming process takes about 50 days using four key molecules called Yamanaka factors.

The new method, called “transient reprogramming of the maturation phase,” exposes the cells to Yamanaka factors for just 13 days. At this point, age-related changes are removed and the cells temporarily lose their identity. The partially reprogrammed cells were given time to grow under normal conditions, to see if their specific skin cell function returned.

Genome analysis showed that the cells had recovered markers characteristic of skin cells (fibroblasts), and this was confirmed by observing collagen production in the reprogrammed cells.

“Our results represent a major step forward in our understanding of cell reprogramming. We have shown that cells can be rejuvenated without losing their function and that rejuvenation seeks to restore some function to old cells,” said Dr. Diljeet Gill, postdoc in high school. .

“The fact that we also saw a reversal of markers of aging in disease-associated genes is particularly promising for the future of this work,” Gill added.

To show that the cells had rejuvenated, the researchers looked for changes in the hallmarks of aging.

The researchers looked at multiple measures of cell age. The first is the epigenetic clock, where chemical tags present throughout the genome indicate age. The second is the transcriptome, all the gene readouts produced by the cell. Based on these two measures, the reprogrammed cells matched the profile of cells that were 30 years younger compared to the reference data sets.

Additionally, the team partially tested the rejuvenated cells by creating an artificial slice in a layer of cells in a dish. They found that their treated fibroblasts moved into the gap faster than older cells. This is a promising sign that this research could one day be used to create cells that are better at healing wounds.