Close banner

Support Outside Online

Love Outside?

Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today.

Contribute to Outside

Young Blood Reverses Aging in Mice

Certain protein key to youth

(Photo: Getty Images )

New research shows that injecting elderly mice with blood from younger mice rejuvenates their brains and muscles and reverses some signs of aging. The older mice, once sluggish, were found to navigate mazes faster and run longer on treadmills once the younger blood containing the protein GDF11 was added to their bodies.

Scientists first made these findings by conjoining two mice—one young, one old—and studying the changes in muscle tissue and neuron production for four weeks following. Later, when old mice were injected with GDF11, they easily outperformed their control group. The Washington Post reports:

"The studies started with a Frankenstein-like setup called parabiosis. Small flaps of skin from the sides of two genetically identical mice are cut and sewn together. As the wounds heal, their tissue begins to fuse. The mice, now conjoined, share a single blood supply. Pairing old and young mice, or heterochronic parabiosis, has become an unexpectedly insightful tool for age research."

But will this translate well to humans? Could a simple blood transfusion be the fountain of youth for aging people?

Scientists predict that they will need years of additional research before attempting any human experiments. Though humans get blood transfusions all the time, donors are anonymous, so there has been no tracking of effects of donor age.

Let's hope no humans will consider conjoining with younger people anytime soon.

Support Outside Online

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.

Contribute to Outside
Filed To: News
Lead Photo: Getty Images