New research demonstrating ‘age mosaicism’ has been issued in Cell Metabolism this month depicts how researchers from the Salk Institute have found that neurons and the heart cells might not be the oldest cells in the body. Up until now, the science field thought that neurons, or most likely heart cells, were the oldest in the human body, but a team of scientists has found that the mouse brain, liver, and pancreas encompass communities of cells and proteins with incredibly long lifespans — some of the cells and proteins, even as old as neurons.
The researching team’s techniques could be used to almost any tissue in the body to offer relevant data about the lifelong function of non-dividing cells and the process in which the cells lose domination over the quality and completeness of proteins and significant cell complex in the process of aging.
Professor Martin Hetzer, senior author and Salk’s vice president and chief science officer, said that the team was somewhat surprised to discover cellular structures that are practically as old as the organism they live in. This implies even more significant cellular ramification than scientists have earlier thought and has compelling significance for how they think about the aging of organs, for instance, the brain, heart, and pancreas.
New Research Revealed That Organs Are a Combination of Old and Young Cells
Biologists have always wondered how old the cells in an organism are, and until now, the commonly thought idea was that neurons are old, and the other cells are quite young and regenerate through the organism’s lifetime, said Rafael Arrojo e Drigo, first author and Salk scientist. Because the scientists knew that the majority of neurons are not recovered during the lifespan, they used them as an ‘age baseline’ to examine them in contrast to other non-dividing cells. The researchers mixed electron isotope labeling with a composite imagining technique to observe the quantify cell and protein age and revolution in the brain, liver, and pancreas in both young and old rodent subjects.
The scientists found that they were as old as the organism, however, remarkably, the cells that line blood vessels, known as endothelial cells, were also as old as neurons. What this signifies is that some non-neuronal cells do not reproduce or replace themselves during the lifespan.
On a molecular rate, some of the analyzed long-lived cells incorporated protein structures showing age mosaicism. For instance, the primary cilia, which are the appendages on the outer side of the cells resembling the hair, of beta cells in the pancreas and neurons, had protein areas of widely different lifespans. In a blunt contrast, the cells in the liver had no long-lived proteins whatsoever.
The authors are planning to solve the difference in lifespans for nucleic lipids and acids. They also hope to understand how age mosaicism connects to health and diseases, for instance, type 2 diabetes.