Remove old cells to extend life

The old adage “Out with the old and in with the new” could help prevent age-related diseases if applied to certain cells, new research on mice suggests.

By removing the body’s worn-out cells, called senescent cells, several times during the lifetime of aging-accelerated mice, researchers were able to spare the mice of cataracts, aging skin and muscle loss.

These cells were once important contributors to their cellular community. Eventually cells get old and start showing signs of wear and tear that could lead to cancer, so the body essentially “turns them off.” When cells get turned off in mammals (including humans and mice), they can take one of two paths, either dying off or sticking around in a senescent state.

For some reason, the ones that stick around start pumping out odd proteins. These chemical signals have a strange impact on the cells around them, and researchers have speculated that these chemicals can lead to age-related diseases. Learn more here.

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