Researchers at the University of Barcelona have found that a protein known as immune receptor CD300f plays a crucial role in determining the lifespan of mice. Also, the absence of CD300f is associated with the early onset of cognitive decline. The results are published in Cell Reports.
The CD300f receptor is a protein expressed by cells of the immune system that modulates cell metabolism and triggers inflammation. To find out what functions it performs in the body of a laboratory mouse, scientists conducted a study based on detailed monitoring of several groups of animals for thirty months. This length of the experiment allowed scientists to abandon the use of models of accelerated aging, which do not fully reflect the process, which includes the gradual accumulation of changes with age.
The study showed that CD300f and myeloid cells (arise from the progenitor cells – monocytes, red blood cells or platelets) of the immune system themselves can determine the rate of pathologies associated with aging. Specifically, the scientists found that mice lacking the immune receptor CD300f prematurely developed diseases and conditions such as cognitive deficits and impaired motor coordination. The absence of such pathologies promotes healthy aging and a long life.
In addition, CD300f protects certain organs – the brain, liver and lungs – from damage. The mechanisms underlying this function have yet to be studied. The scientists hope that their discovery will bring them closer to creating therapeutic strategies to treat dementia in humans.