Scientist Discover Platelets Mimicking Physical Activity Benefits

In Education

A noteworthy advancement in the field of brain health may pave the way for innovative therapeutic approaches. Australian scientists have recently uncovered that an administration of a specific blood factor can replicate the cognitive advantages typically associated with rigorous physical activity.

Platelets rejuvenate neurons similar to exercise effects

Researchers from the University of Queensland directed their investigation toward platelets, diminutive blood cells crucial for clot formation. Their discovery revealed that these platelets release a protein with rejuvenating properties for neurons in aging mice, analogous to the effects of physical activity.

Physical activity enhances the generation of new neurons within the hippocampus, a crucial brain region for memory and learning. Dr. Odette Leiter, a researcher affiliated with the Queensland Brain Institute, stated that while their prior investigations suggested platelets played a role in this process, the latest study unequivocally demonstrates their essential role in facilitating this effect in older mice.

Delving further, the research group investigated exerkines, which are organic substances that enter the bloodstream during physical exertion and are believed to stimulate the exercise-induced reaction in the brain.

Dr Leiter noted that they found that exerkine CXCL4/Platelet factor 4 (PF4) released from platelets following physical activity, leads to rejuvenating and cognitive enhancements when administered to elderly mice. This finding is important as it could lead to advancement in treatment-based interventions.

Platelet manipulation stimulates neurogenesis

For many individuals dealing with health ailments, mobility constraints, or advanced age, engaging in physical activity may not be a viable option. Dr. Tara Walker, also affiliated with the Queensland Brain Institute emphasized that therefore, pharmacological interventions represent a crucial avenue of research. Presently, the focus is on directing attention toward platelet manipulation as a means to stimulate neurogenesis, improve cognitive functions, and mitigate the cognitive deterioration associated with aging.

In the near future, the team plans to investigate the reaction in mice afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, thereby laying the groundwork for possible human trials.

Dr. Walker emphasizes, that it’s crucial to clarify that this is not a substitute for physical activity. However, it may offer cognitive enhancement benefits for the elderly or individuals who have experienced brain injuries or strokes.

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