This arthritis drug may help slow aging, study finds

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In a study from Columbia University, scientists that an anti-inflammatory drug, already approved for use in rheumatoid arthritis, can turn back time in mice and reverse some of the effects of age on the hematopoietic system.

These results indicate that such strategies hold promise for maintaining healthier blood production in the elderly

Many scientists are looking for the elements of young blood that can be captured or replicated and put into a pill.

In the study, the team identified the drug after a comprehensive study of the stem cells that create all blood cells and the niches where they reside in the center of the bones.

In a previous study, the team first tried to rejuvenate old hematopoietic stem cells, in mice, with exercise or calorie-restricting diet, both generally thought to slow the aging process. Neither worked.

Transplanting old stem cells into young bone marrow also failed. Even young blood had no effect on rejuvenating old blood stem cells.

The team then took a closer look at the stem cells’ environment, the bone marrow.

With techniques developed in the lab that enable detailed investigation of the bone marrow milieu, the researchers found that the aging niche is deteriorating and overwhelmed with inflammation, leading to dysfunction in the blood stem cells.

One inflammatory signal released from the damaged bone marrow niche, IL-1B, was critical in driving these aging features, and blocking it with the drug anakinra remarkably returned the blood stem cells to a younger, healthier state.

The team found even more youthful effects on both the niche and the blood system occurred when IL-1B was prevented from exerting its inflammatory effects throughout the animal’s life.

The researchers are now trying to learn if the same processes are active in humans and if rejuvenating the stem cell niche earlier in life, in middle age, would be a more effective strategy.

Meanwhile, they suggest treating elderly patients with anti-inflammatory drugs blocking IL-1B function should help with maintaining healthier blood production.

If you care about health, please read studies about how Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and this plant nutrient could help reduce high blood pressure.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.

The study was conducted by Emmanuelle Passegué et al and published in Nature Cell Biology.

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