Protein isolated from the blood of “trained” mice triggers the same improvement in cognitive functions without any physical exertion.
The benefits of physical activity are well known. Scientists have demonstrated the positive effects of exercise on the heart, lungs, and even the brain. New experiments have helped isolate proteins from mice’s blood that trigger brain rejuvenation during physical exertion – or even without them: the same proteins stimulated the same processes in completely motionless animals, giving hope for long-awaited pills that can replace regular trips to the gym.
It is known that blood transfusion of young and healthy mice to old and sick people improves their condition, therefore, scientists from different countries are searching for and studying proteins and signaling molecules that can cause these effects. Similar experiments are conducted in the laboratory of Saul Villeda (Saul Villeda) from the University of California at San Francisco, where scientists decided to check how the blood of trained animals will affect the inactive.
Having placed some (middle-aged) rodents in a cage with a wheel and letting them run freely for six weeks, the researchers took their blood and transfused the same mice, which were kept without access to the “simulators” and led a sedentary lifestyle. The transfusion was performed eight times over three weeks, and during this time, scientists monitored their cognitive abilities by conducting tests in a maze and the like.
It turned out that they improved almost the same way as mice that were constantly training, – scientists write about this in an article published in the journal Science. The authors compared the composition of proteins in the blood of both animals, noting that in trained rodents it contains increased amounts of phospholipase D1 (Gpld1) – one of the signaling proteins produced in the liver.
The following experiments confirmed that artificial stimulation of Gpld1 in age-old and sedentary mice during the same three weeks leads to almost the same improvements in cognitive tests as real physical exercises. Scientists also studied the content of Gpld1 in the blood of older people, showing that it is more present in regular trainers. It seems that it acts in a similar way on both mice and us, giving hope that sooner or later, doctors will be able to decipher it and create a drug that can mimic the positive effects of physical activity.