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Restoring systemic GDF11 levels reverses age-related dysfunction in mouse skeletal muscle.

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      Abstract

      Parabiosis experiments indicate that impaired regeneration in aged mice is reversible by exposure to a young circulation, suggesting that young blood contains humoral "rejuvenating" factors that can restore regenerative function. Here, we demonstrate that the circulating protein growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11) is a rejuvenating factor for skeletal muscle. Supplementation of systemic GDF11 levels, which normally decline with age, by heterochronic parabiosis or systemic delivery of recombinant protein, reversed functional impairments and restored genomic integrity in aged muscle stem cells (satellite cells). Increased GDF11 levels in aged mice also improved muscle structural and functional features and increased strength and endurance exercise capacity. These data indicate that GDF11 systemically regulates muscle aging and may be therapeutically useful for reversing age-related skeletal muscle and stem cell dysfunction.

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      SATELLITE CELL OF SKELETAL MUSCLE FIBERS

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        Rejuvenation of aged progenitor cells by exposure to a young systemic environment.

        The decline of tissue regenerative potential is a hallmark of ageing and may be due to age-related changes in tissue-specific stem cells. A decline in skeletal muscle stem cell (satellite cell) activity due to a loss of Notch signalling results in impaired regeneration of aged muscle. The decline in hepatic progenitor cell proliferation owing to the formation of a complex involving cEBP-alpha and the chromatin remodelling factor brahma (Brm) inhibits the regenerative capacity of aged liver. To examine the influence of systemic factors on aged progenitor cells from these tissues, we established parabiotic pairings (that is, a shared circulatory system) between young and old mice (heterochronic parabioses), exposing old mice to factors present in young serum. Notably, heterochronic parabiosis restored the activation of Notch signalling as well as the proliferation and regenerative capacity of aged satellite cells. The exposure of satellite cells from old mice to young serum enhanced the expression of the Notch ligand (Delta), increased Notch activation, and enhanced proliferation in vitro. Furthermore, heterochronic parabiosis increased aged hepatocyte proliferation and restored the cEBP-alpha complex to levels seen in young animals. These results suggest that the age-related decline of progenitor cell activity can be modulated by systemic factors that change with age.
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          Increased Wnt signaling during aging alters muscle stem cell fate and increases fibrosis.

          The regenerative potential of skeletal muscle declines with age, and this impairment is associated with an increase in tissue fibrosis. We show that muscle stem cells (satellite cells) from aged mice tend to convert from a myogenic to a fibrogenic lineage as they begin to proliferate and that this conversion is mediated by factors in the systemic environment of the old animals. We also show that this lineage conversion is associated with an activation of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway in aged myogenic progenitors and can be suppressed by Wnt inhibitors. Furthermore, components of serum from aged mice that bind to the Frizzled family of proteins, which are Wnt receptors, may account for the elevated Wnt signaling in aged cells. These results indicate that the Wnt signaling pathway may play a critical role in tissue-specific stem cell aging and an increase in tissue fibrosis with age.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ] Harvard Stem Cell Institute and Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
            Journal
            Science
            Science (New York, N.Y.)
            American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
            1095-9203
            0036-8075
            May 09 2014
            : 344
            : 6184
            24797481 science.1251152 10.1126/science.1251152 4104429 NIHMS602399

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