Friday November 22, 2019

Commonly Used Antidepressant Can Help Delay Ageing of Brain Cells, Says Study

In the new study, appearing in the Journal of Neuroscience, they put the drug in the drinking water of mice at various ages for various amounts of time

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Aspirin
Aspirin may lower risk of ovarian cancer as well. Pixabay

Administering commonly used antidepressant fluoxetine to mice helped restore youthful flexibility to their ageing brain cells, showed a study.

The study provides fresh evidence that the decline in the capacity of brain cells to change, called “plasticity,” rather than a decline in total cell numbers may underlie some of the sensory and cognitive declines associated with normal brain ageing.

Scientists at the MIT revealed that in mice treated with fluoxetine, also known as Prozac, the inhibitory interneurons in the visual cortex remained just as abundant during ageing, but their arbors become simplified and they become much less structurally dynamic and flexible.

They could also restore a significant degree of lost plasticity to the cells.

“Here we show that fluoxetine can also ameliorate the age-related decline in structural and functional plasticity of visual cortex neurons,” said the scientists including lead author Ronen Eavri from MIT.

antidepressant
Administering commonly used antidepressant fluoxetine to mice helped restore youthful flexibility to their ageing brain cells.
 “Our finding that fluoxetine treatment in ageing mice can attenuate the concurrent age-related declines in interneuron structural and visual cortex functional plasticity suggests it could provide an important therapeutic approach towards mitigation of sensory and cognitive deficits associated with ageing, provided it is initiated before severe network deterioration,” they added.

A previous study had shown that fluoxetine promotes interneuron branch remodelling in young mice, so the team decided to see whether it could do so for older mice and restore plasticity as well.

In the new study, appearing in the Journal of Neuroscience, they put the drug in the drinking water of mice at various ages for various amounts of time.

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Three-month-old mice treated for three months showed little change in dendrite growth compared to untreated controls, but 25 per cent of the cells in six-month-old mice treated for three months showed significant new growth (at the age of 9 months).

But among 3-month-old mice treated for six months, 67 per cent of cells showed new growth by the age of 9 months, showing that treatment starting early and lasting for six months had the strongest effect. (IANS)

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Microorganisms Living In The Gut May Alter The Ageing Process

A new study says that the microorganisms found living in the gut may alter ageing process

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Microorganisms
Researchers have found that microorganisms living in the gut may alter the ageing process. Pixabay

Researchers have found that microorganisms living in the gut may alter the ageing process, which could lead to the development of food-based treatment to slow it down.

All living organisms, including human beings, coexist with a myriad of microbial species living in and on them, and research conducted over the last 20 years has established their important role in nutrition, physiology, metabolism and behaviour.

“We’ve found that microbes collected from an old mouse have the capacity to support neural growth in a younger mouse,” said study researcher Sven Pettersson from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

“This is a surprising and very interesting observation, especially since we can mimic the neuro-stimulatory effect by using butyrate alone,” Pettersson added.

Using mice, the research team transplanted gut microbes from old mice (24 months old) into young, germ-free mice (six weeks old).

After eight weeks, the young mice had increased intestinal growth and production of neurons in the brain, known as neurogenesis.

The team showed that the increased neurogenesis was due to an enrichment of gut microbes that produce a specific short chain fatty acid, called butyrate.

Butyrate is produced through microbial fermentation of dietary fibres in the lower intestinal tract and stimulates production of a pro-longevity hormone called FGF21, which plays an important role in regulating the body’s energy and metabolism.

Microorganisms, mice
Using mice, the research team transplanted gut microorganisms from old mice into young, germ-free mice. Pixabay

As we age, butyrate production is reduced.

The researchers then showed that giving butyrate on its own to the young germ-free mice had the same adult neurogenesis effects.

“These results will lead us to explore whether butyrate might support repair and rebuilding in situations like stroke, spinal damage and to attenuate accelerated ageing and cognitive decline,” Pettersson said.

The team also explored the effects of gut microbe transplants from old to young mice on the functions of the digestive system.

With age, the viability of small intestinal cells is reduced, and this is associated with reduced mucus production that make intestinal cells more vulnerable to damage and cell death.

However, the addition of butyrate helps to better regulate the intestinal barrier function and reduce the risk of inflammation.

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The team found that mice receiving microbes from the old donor gained increases in length and width of the intestinal villi – the wall of the small intestine. In addition, both the small intestine and colon were longer in the old mice than the young germ-free mice.

The discovery shows that gut microbes can compensate and support an ageing body through positive stimulation. (IANS)