Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota have identified a group of cells, known as senescent cells, which play a key role in the aging of tissue and suggested that cleaning the body of such cells could slow down the aging process.
The study was led by Darren Baker and Jan van Deursen who found that senescent cells accumulated in aged tissues, such as cataracts, arthritic knees and in the plaque that line the arteries among the elderly. The researchers tested the effect of such cells in mice and found that they accelerated the process of aging.
The researchers then gave the mice drugs which destroyed the cells and found that those tissues which initially contained senescent cells displayed significant improvement relating to aging disorders such as cataracts or the natural wasting of muscles seen among the elderly.
Commenting on the study, Dr van Deursen said, "This research has identified a cell class that makes you old and makes you have age-related declines. We can now start to think about how you can get rid of them". The study has been published in the journal Nature.