Eosinophils From Belly Fat Can Rejuvenate The Elderly
A decline in immune system function, which welcomes a multitude of other risks, including vulnerability to diseases, is one of the many deteriorative effects of aging in humans. Thankfully, an international team of researchers led by scientists at Switzerland’s University of Bern may have found a way to reverse this trend. The team experimented on mice to demonstrate how targeting inflammation in belly fat could help age-related declines in physical activity, while also restoring a balanced immune system.
The researchers started by analyzing the function of specialized white blood cells known as eosinophils, which boost inflammation and curb infection. Eosinophils circulate through the bloodstream and are found in belly fat, where they work to preserve proper immune function in healthy humans.
The concentration and distribution of the eosinophil cells decrease the older we get, while the level of pro-inflammatory macrophages in the belly fat increase. This causes an imbalance that worsens with age and drives inflammation, accelerating the aging process. The team set out to find if addressing this imbalance could offer a solution to reversing the entire process.
The scientists observed this behavior in both humans and mice. They found one promising method that takes eosinophil cells from young, healthy mice and transfers them to the older mice, which proved to reduce the age-related inflammation.
Dr. Alexander Eggel, one of the authors of the study, said:
In different experimental approaches, we were able to show that transfers of eosinophils from young mice into aged recipients resolved not only local but also low-grade systemic inflammation. In these experiments, we observed that transferred eosinophils were selectively homing into adipose tissue.
The outcome of this study, published on July 6 in the journal Nature Metabolism, saw considerable gains in the immune system of the older mice. The mice also showed improved vaccination responses and enhanced physical performance, all of which were analyzed through endurance and grip strength tests.
A future direction of our research will be to now leverage the gained knowledge for the establishment of targeted therapeutic approaches to promote and sustain healthy aging in humans.
Since the age-related imbalance of eosinophil cells are also found in humans, the team is hopeful that these results could be used in future therapies for older people.