“Unexpected” – Scientists Discover an Anti-Aging Mechanism

Rejuvenation Anti Aging Concept

The mechanism delays and, in some cases, prevents the natural aging of immune cells.

The mechanism extends the life of the immune system. 

A multinational team headed by University College London scientists has discovered a new mechanism that slows down and maybe even prevents the normal aging of immune cells, one of the nine “hallmarks of aging.”

The discovery in-vitro (cells) and validated in mice was “unexpected,” according to the researchers, who believe harnessing the mechanism might extend the life of the immune system, enabling people to live healthier and longer lives, and would also have therapeutic use for diseases such as cancer and dementia. Their findings were recently published in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

Explaining the study, lead author, Dr. Alessio Lanna, Honorary Professor at UCL Division of Medicine, said: “Immune cells are on constant high-alert, always ready to fight pathogens. To be effective they also must persist for decades in the body – but the strategies employed to execute this life-long protection are largely unknown.

“In this research, we sought to find out what mechanisms exist to confer longevity to immune system cells, known as T cells, at the initiation of the immune response against an antigen – a foreign substance recognized by the immune-surveillance mechanisms of defense of the body.”

Why the immune system ages

Each chromosome has a protective cap called a telomere, which is a particular DNA sequence that is repeated thousands of times. The sequence has two functions: first, it shields the coding regions of the chromosomes from damage, and second, it serves as an aging clock that regulates the number of replications (also known as divisions) that a cell can make.

T cells (a type of white blood or immune cell), like other cells, have telomeres that shorten with each cell division (telomere attrition). When telomeres reach a critical length, the cell stops dividing and enters senescence, which is the process of being disposed of by the immune system or persisting in an altered, dysfunctional condition.

With the immune system no longer functioning effectively, this leads to the onset of chronic infections, cancerous disease, and death. Telomere attrition has been described as one of the “hallmarks of aging”.

Study findings

In the study, in vitro, researchers initiated an immune response of T-lymphocytes against a microbe (foreign infection). Unexpectedly, they observed a telomere transfer reaction between two types of white blood cells, in ‘extracellular vesicles’ (small particles that facilitate intercellular communication). An antigen-presenting cell (APC), consisting either of B cells, dendritic cells, or macrophages, functioned as a ‘telomere donor’, to the T lymphocyte – the telomere recipient cell. Upon transfer of the telomeres, the recipient T cell became long-lived and possessed memory and stem cell attributes, enabling the T cell to protect a host against lethal infection in the long term.

The telomere transfer reaction extended certain telomeres about 30 times more than the extension exerted by telomerase. Telomerase is the single DNA synthesizing enzyme that is devoted to telomere maintenance in stem cells, cells of the immune systems, and found in fetal tissue, reproductive cells, and sperm. However, it does not provide this function in other cells, leading to telomere attrition. Even in immune cells where the enzyme is naturally active, continuous immune reactions cause progressive telomerase inactivation leading to telomere shortening, when cells stop dividing, and replicative senescence occurs.

Professor Lanna added: “The telomere transfer reaction between immune cells adds to the Nobel-prize-winning discovery of telomerase and shows that cells are capable of exchanging telomeres as a way to regulate chromosome length before telomerase action begins. It is possible that aging may be slowed down or cured simply by transferring telomeres.”

Utilizing the new mechanism

On discovering the new ‘anti-aging’ mechanism, the same research team established that telomere extracellular vesicles can be purified from the blood, and, when added to T cells, present anti-aging activities in immune systems from both humans and mice.

The researchers discovered (in human cells and mice) that the purified extracellular vesicle preparations may be administered alone or in combination with a vaccine and this extended durative immune protection that, in principle, may avoid the need for revaccination.

Alternatively, the ‘telomere donor’ transfer reaction can be boosted directly in cells. While much more research is needed, the scientists say this illustrates the possibilities of new forms of prophylactic (preventative) therapies for immune senescence and age.

Professor Lanna concluded: “Telomere biology has been studied for more than 40 years. For decades, a single enzyme, telomerase, has been credited as the sole mechanism responsible for telomere elongation and maintenance in cells. Our results illuminate how a different mechanism that does not require telomerase to extend telomeres and act when telomerase is still inactive in the cell.”

References: “An intercellular transfer of telomeres rescues T cells from senescence and promotes long-term immunological memory” by Alessio Lanna, Bruno Vaz, Clara D’Ambra, Salvatore Valvo, Claudia Vuotto, Valerio Chiurchiù, Oliver Devine, Massimo Sanchez, Giovanna Borsellino, Arne N. Akbar, Marco De Bardi, Derek W. Gilroy, Michael L. Dustin, Brendan Blumer, and Michael Karin, 15 September 2022, Nature Cell Biology.
DOI: 10.1038/s41556-022-00991-z

“The Hallmarks of Aging” by Carlos López-Otín, Maria A. Blasco, Linda Partridge, Manuel Serrano and Guido Kroemer, 6 June 2013, Cell.
DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.05.039

25 Comments on "“Unexpected” – Scientists Discover an Anti-Aging Mechanism"

  1. Russell w polhemus | November 4, 2022 at 11:05 am | Reply

    What study are you talking about? Please give specifics!!!!! Who and when did this did this super study occur. It has no validty until you stat when and where this occured.

  2. @Russell w polhemus

    At the very bottom of the article they list the references. The first reference is the study in question: DOI: 10.1038/s41556-022-00991-z

  3. Stephen Atto Quayson | November 5, 2022 at 3:45 am | Reply


  4. @Russell w polhemus state*

    Also…maybe read more, and comment less, and you will find more answers.

    Why are stupid people always the loudest?

  5. How do we get the treatment?

  6. Pineal gland

  7. Another promising DNA maintenance strategy is in the use of NMN supplementation for promotion of NAD production and has been credited with telomere elongation. Just saying

  8. I love the idea of living a longer and healthier life, but hell! There’s already 7 billion people on this earth already, and what if all the othe inhabitants of this earth could, let’s say live indefinitely? What would that mean for future generations? From what I learned from just living and learning on this small blue planet along with our other winged and four footed friends, seems to me we’re supposed to die to make room for other people and animal as well as plant life. Don’t get me wrong I want to live for ever but at what cost?

    • Most industrialized Nations are facing the de-population bomb. The next 20 years will see population declines so rapidly, some Nations will be threatened from multiple angles as a result. The Earth has allegedly crossed 8 Billion; I doubt that, but still, models show there is a decline from 8Bn on rapid approach. People today are either too poor to have kids or they don’t understand the reward of having kids; & the problem is increasing everywhere. Once the elites realize their idiocy in bringing reproduction to a screeching halt, who knows? They might not give you the choice—you will be forced to live whether you want to or not. Probably in a state of perpetual debt to justify the whole thing…

      • Someone is now an elitist because of his or her choice to have one or no children? I doubt very much that anyone (certainly any number more than a negligible amount) makes the choice to not have kids because the person feels a sense of superiority over someone else. It seems more likely that these “elitists” are labeled so, by yourself and those who share your baseless judgement, solely from your own feelings of insecurity, inadequacy and inferiority. It’s a whole lot easier to blame others for your feelings than it is to take accountability for them yourself, isn’t it? The only problem (well, one problem of many actually) with that line of thinking is that all of your feelings come from and are created by you alone. Your malcontentedness and insecurity (fear) are such driving forces for you, that you ignore basic logic and sound science rather than agree with anything someone who meets your criteria to be a “liberal” might hold as likely, plausible or factual… such as the current population of the world and why the level is so dangerous. We may not know the precise number of people living on the planet… in fact finding the number right now would be virtually impossible and constantly changing, but we (humanity) can get the number close enough to provide us all with a pretty good estimate. Right now, we’re hovering right around 8 billion people. That is not your favorite color, the food you prefer, or whether or not you sit down to pee. It is not a “belief” to say the number is grossly inaccurate. It is a fact, which is based on data gathered from hundreds of nations across the globe, as well as estimates of undocumented or isolated peoples based on peer-reviewed, scientific surveys, versus you… who likely came to your conclusion after listening to someone just as ignorant as yourself spout off completely baseless and totally fabricated numbers, which have nothing to do with reality, and everything to do with the cult in which you and he, and all of the other sycophantic, obedient servants to the agenda of a relatively small number of narcissistic, possibly sociopathic, ultra-wealthy, powerful politicians and corporate executives.

  9. Hi there:

    It is my very vivid dream to leave longer, I’m 72 years old, maybe I have a chance on eny experience to get my treatment??

  10. When could human testing take place? Most patients with metastatic cancer would be willing to participate. How far away from human trial studies?

  11. Life insurance companies will have to trash their life expectancy charts!

  12. Ayo what would I want to look young I’m 17 and I look 15 or 14 😂 I don’t need that mechanisms or whatever it is

  13. Personally think old mother earth
    is just about fed up with our species
    and will start culling us in various pathogenic/bacterial guises.

    As for living longer healthier lives all well & good
    however what kind of planet will you have to look
    forward to.

  14. How can I be part of a human clinical trial? Seems this may be the next step in this research! I am 73 as of November 9, 2022, and have much more I want to do and share, as a Clinical Psychologist, in my professional work, as well as enjoying quality of life for a longer future. Why not explore the option? Could be a great contribution to science and to humanity.

  15. The treatment maybe offered to everyone but not everybody will afford it, so it won’t matter how many people there are on earth, because there’s more poor people than rich people…

  16. It can do wonders for one’s mental and emotional stability especially when looking at oneself in the mirror.

  17. Taking a sample of these cell while the person is young and storing them to be reintorduce at a later age might be an easy method

  18. Can I be first to try this please 🙏

  19. This all sounds quite interesting; however, the thought of actually living longer makes me appreciate the life that I have now even more. If I could live to be say, 121. Everyone that I know and grew up with would be dead and gone. I would be an old relic hanging around the youth! Everything would remind me that I’m unusually old!! No, on second thought, I’ll pass.

  20. It sounds like their conclusion was that when the immune system is used, it gets stronger. They’re trying to artificially replicate that mechanism, which is great, but it doesn’t explain why the immune system ages, if it gets a boost every time it encounters pathogens. It did I read that wrong?

  21. I have been researching for a while the subject of this article. The best thing you could start doing is taking a good grass-fed pasture raised bone marrow supplement. By taking bone marrow your body will continue to replace the old and depleted stem cells in your bones. Loosing your stem cells as you age is why you loose your T cells that you have to have to keep your immune system working so you will stay disease free. Along with bone marrow supplement I take Black Seed oil capsules, Resveratrol, and every morning I so ‘oil pulling’ right out of bed b 4 brushing my teeth. I use a combination pulling oil from Guru Nanda on Amazon. It has combined oils that u need for this process. Coconut oil, sunflower oil, Sesame oil, and peppermint oil. I will never stop these supplements and the oil pulling. The oil pulling gets rid of all the bacteria and toxins that would normally enter into your body every a.m. The bacteria and toxins are what start to disease your body as you age. Arthritis, heart disease, etc. Also, you will not have tartar any longer on your teeth or gum disease. Oil pulling did reverse my gum disease. Your teeth become white naturally.

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