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The Path to Prolonged Youth? Scientists Identify Key Protein for Healthy Aging

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Recent research indicates that the CD300f immune receptor significantly impacts mice’s lifespan and aging process, with its absence leading to early aging symptoms and cognitive decline, especially in females. This discovery opens new avenues for understanding aging and Alzheimer’s disease, highlighting the importance of immune system changes in these processes.

Recent research published in the journal Cell Reports reveals that life expectancy and healthy aging in mice can be significantly influenced by a specific protein found in certain immune system cells. This protein, known as the CD300f immune receptor, plays a critical role in determining the lifespan and health of these animals. The study also indicates that the absence of CD300f is linked to reduced life expectancy and early onset of cognitive decline and aging-related pathologies, with a notably higher impact on females.

“Our study indicates that alterations in immune system cells, for instance, in macrophages and microglia, can determine the healthy aging degree in mice,” notes Hugo Peluffo, leader of this study and member of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Institute of Neurosciences (UBneuro) of the University of Barcelona.

Understanding how the CD300f immune receptor — and the myeloid cells of the immune system — can determine by themselves the onset rate of aging-associated pathologies, “will help to better understand this process, and it will contribute to the design of strategies to regulate its action. For instance, using the immune receptor CD300f as a target in biomedicine,” notes the expert. “Also, our team has previously shown that some variants of the CD300f immune receptor could be useful as biomarkers in patients.”

The paper, whose first author is the expert Frances Evans (Institute Pasteur and Udelar), includes the participation of teams from the Molecular Imaging Uruguayan Center (CUDIM), among other institutions.

What role does this receptor play in the process of aging?

The CD300f receptor is a protein expressed by immune system cells that modulates cell metabolism and inflammation. This study reveals the first evidence of its role in the processes related to aging and senescence.

“In particular, we discovered that mice that lacked the CD300f immune receptor developed prematurely some pathologies associated with aging (cognitive deficits, motor incoordination, tumors, etc.) and even damage in several organs such as the brain, the liver or the lungs. Moreover, we observed an important effect on females, the most affected ones,” says Hugo Peluffo.

The study is based on a detailed monitoring of several cohorts of animals for thirty months, a methodological innovation that allowed the researchers to see the process of real aging in these animals without using accelerated aging models, which do not fully represent a process that necessarily involves the gradual accumulation of changes with age.

Immune receptors and Alzheimer’s disease

The researcher points out that “the aim is to keep studying the consequences of the dysfunction of the CD300f immune receptor on brain aging, in particular on microglia.”

In these lines, a project led by Professor Hugo Peluffo to study the relationship between aging and Alzheimer’s disease has just received one of the Alzheimer’s research grants from the Pasqual Maragall Foundation. It will explore how immune cells in the nervous system, known as microglia, influence the aging process and the late onset of Alzheimer’s. “In this project, funded by the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, we will study the potential role of this immune receptor in Alzheimer’s disease,” says the researcher.

Reference: “CD300f immune receptor contributes to healthy aging by regulating inflammaging, metabolism, and cognitive decline” by Frances Evans, Daniela Alí-Ruiz, Natalia Rego, María Luciana Negro-Demontel, Natalia Lago, Fabio Andrés Cawen, Bruno Pannunzio, Paula Sanchez-Molina, Laura Reyes, Andrea Paolino, Jorge Rodríguez-Duarte, Valentina Pérez-Torrado, Almudena Chicote-González, Celia Quijano, Inés Marmisolle, Ana Paula Mulet, Geraldine Schlapp, María Noel Meikle, Mariana Bresque, Martina Crispo, Eduardo Savio, Cristina Malagelada, Carlos Escande and Hugo Peluffo, 20 October 2023, Cell Reports.
DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2023.113269

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