Scientists find how to make aging brain younger

Credit: Unsplash+.

Recent discoveries suggest a profound convergence in our understanding of cognitive enhancement.

Two teams from UCSF and another from the University of Queensland have found that platelet factor 4 (PF4) plays a pivotal role in the cognitive benefits derived from young blood transfusion, the longevity hormone klotho, and exercise.

Understanding PF4

Origin: As its name implies, PF4 is produced by platelets, the blood cells responsible for clotting and wound signaling.

Function: Beyond clotting, PF4 has been identified as a cognitive enhancer, improving the cognitive abilities of both old and young mice.

Key Discoveries

Young Blood Transfusion: Led by Dr. Saul Villeda, a study found that the rejuvenating effects of young blood transfusions on old animals are linked to PF4. Notably, the plasma from young blood contains higher levels of PF4.

Klotho Hormone: Dr. Dena Dubal’s research revealed that klotho, known for its cognitive enhancement capabilities, signals the release of PF4 from platelets.

This factor had substantial effects on the hippocampus, the brain’s memory-making region.

Exercise: Dr. Tara Walker’s team discovered that exercise induces the release of PF4 from platelets, which in turn promotes cognitive health.

Implications for Aging and Cognition

Anti-Inflammatory: PF4 reduces pro-aging immune factors, reducing inflammation in the brain, enhancing its plasticity, and improving cognition.

Potential Therapeutic Uses: Given that the benefits of klotho rely on platelet activation and subsequent PF4 release, there is potential for therapeutic applications targeting cognitive dysfunction.

Exercise’s Unseen Benefits: Beyond the known benefits, exercise promotes brain health by triggering platelets to release PF4.

Future Directions

This synchronized release of findings from three different angles strongly establishes PF4’s crucial role in brain health.

The newfound understanding underscores the importance of targeting platelets to foster neurogenesis, enhance cognitive function, and counteract age-related cognitive decline.

With many individuals unable to participate in regular exercise due to health or age constraints, pharmacological interventions centered on PF4 present a promising pathway forward.

Harnessing the power of PF4 and its newfound connections to cognitive enhancement offers a bright prospect for addressing cognitive decline, one of the most pressing health challenges of our time.

If you care about dementia, please read studies about low choline intake linked to higher dementia risk, and how eating nuts can affect your cognitive ability.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that blueberry supplements may prevent cognitive decline, and results showing higher magnesium intake could help benefit brain health.

The study was published in Nature.

Follow us on Twitter for more articles about this topic.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.