As years pass, people’s bogy loses muscle mass. This normally starts at age of about 40 and accelerates starting from age of 75. Our muscles not only get weaker, but also lose their ability to restore after strain or injury. Behind this process are stem cells that no more work as ‘prescribed’ – a new study tells. Harvesting those cells, rejuvenating them in a special way and transplanting back to the body can restore in old muscles functions of the young ones.
Muscles contain stem cells that cease to properly functioning as they age. The researchers found that by studying elderly mice. In particular, two proteins in muscle stem cells demonstrated higher than normal activity. The scientists harvested these stem cells, used a special drug to block those proteins and virtually to rejuvenate the cells. After this, they transplanted these cells back to the mice that were recovering from injuries. The muscles that got rejuvenated cells injections demonstrated huge recovery improvements compared to unaffected muscles.
The technique has been studied with mice models, but it can potentially be used for humans as well. However, the researchers warn that it won’t turn elderly people in young, as it is expected that the cells will be transplanted only to specific, and not all, muscles of the body.
For example, stem cells transplantation could facilitate recovery after hip surgery, help strengthen some groups of muscles that may atrophy with age - hand, eye, swallowing, etc. Till then, the best way to support muscles and prevent their aginf is regular exercise and workouts.