Despite Alzheimer’s disease being one of the most terrifying conditions out there, researchers are still optimistic that they will find a way to overcome it. Platelet factor 4 (PF4) is the molecule known for playing a role in sealing broken blood vessels, and scientists now have hopes that it can also hold the key for treating Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia.
PF4 from the blood of young mice is now suspected to be able to restore youth properties for older mice, such as making the animals learn better, as Nature.com informs. Younger mice have higher levels of the aforementioned molecule compared to older rodents.
A promising experiment
Saul Villeda, who’s a neuroscientist from the University of California, tried to find out just how important the PF4 molecule can be. Along with his colleagues, he injected PF4 into the older mice while ruling out other components of the blood.
After the experiment, it was observed that the aged mice that received injections with PF4 performed better than aged control mice when it came to cognitive tests. For instance, older mice were able to remember better where to locate a submerged platform where they could rest while being placed in a maze.
Another conclusion of the experiment was that the ratios of various types of immune cells changed in a similar way to what can be seen in younger mice. On the other hand, some of the immune cells reverted to a more youthful scheme of gene expression.
The researchers involved in the experiment also discovered that PF4’s effects on the immune system led to changes in the brain. The hippocampus of old mice that were given PF4 has proved decrease in damaging inflammation. Increases in the levels of molecules responsible for synaptic plasticity were also there. That refers to the capacity to alter the strength of links between neurons.
The new study was published in Nature.