Scientists in China have created "vampire mice" by injecting old ones with young blood to help them live longer.
The process involves surgically connecting their circulatory systems in a bid to shed more light on the ageing process.
Research published last month in the journal, Cell Stem Cell describes a technique known as heterochronic parabiosis (HP), which capitalises on the revitalising power of young blood.
It's the latest in a decades-old journey to find the key to rejuvenation as mystery still surrounds how young blood makes aged bodies return to a "younger state."
Experts found that exposure to old blood can accelerate ageing of various organs, tissues and cell types in a young mouse, while exposure to young blood can rejuvenate an aged rodent, the Independent reports.
Stem cells in adults continuously self-renew to maintain the body’s cell population and repair age-related damage, supported by neighbouring or niche cells, researchers explained.
Stem cells that give rise to other blood and immune cells, are among those most sensitive to young blood.
Study lead author, Ma Shuai told China’s state-run Science and Technology Daily: “Most of the previous relevant studies have only demonstrated the rejuvenation phenomena and have not revealed enough about the essential mechanisms."
Scientists say the findings provide essential clues for further research for ageing intervention.
“Our work constitutes a mineable resource for advancing our understanding of ageing-related systemic factors and how they might be targeted to alleviate ageing,” researchers wrote.
While young blood by itself may not be effective medicine, they say such “vampire” methods could shed more light on the inhibitors in old blood that could be targeted to slow ageing.
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