Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City have found that stem cells in the brain’s hypothalamus govern how fast aging occurs in the body. The finding, made in mice, could lead to new strategies for warding off age-related diseases and extending lifespan. The paper was published online on July 26, 2017 in Nature. The article is titled "Hypothalamic Stem Cells Control Aging Speed Partly Through Exosomal miRNAs.” The hypothalamus was previously known to regulate important processes, including growth, development, reproduction, and metabolism. In a 2013 Nature paper, Einstein researchers made the surprising finding that the hypothalamus also regulates aging throughout the body. Now, the scientists have pinpointed the cells in the hypothalamus that control aging: a tiny population of adult neural stem cells, which were known to be responsible for forming new brain neurons. "Our research shows that the number of hypothalamic neural stem cells naturally declines over the life of the animal, and this decline accelerates aging," says senior author Dongsheng Cai, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Pharmacology at Einstein.
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