A single molecular switch plays a central role in inducing stem cells in the brain, pancreas, and blood to lose function as they age, researchers have found. Mice lacking that switch show considerably reduced aging-related decline in stem cell function and tissue regeneration. "People tend to think that old tissues have less regenerative capacity because they are wearing out," said Sean J. Morrison, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of Michigan who led the study of the switch's role in the brain. "This work shows that they are not just wearing out; they are actively shutting themselves down."
- see the release on the discovery