Young Rat Plasma Successfully Reversed Aging 54% in Old Rats, Say Scientists

A team of scientists successfully achieved 53% reverse aging in old rats with blood plasma from young rats, in an astounding leap forward for the erstwhile-controversial field of aging.
Brad Bergan

A reverse aging procedure where young rat plasma was given to aged rats successfully turned back six different epigenetic clocks of old rats, improved organ functions, and cleared senescent cells — effectively reverse-aging the rats 54% — according to a recent study posted on a preprint biology server.


Reverse aging successful with young rat plasma

While young blood plasma was known to have beneficial effects on various mice organs, it wasn't known whether young plasma could rejuvenate cells and tissues at the epigenetic level, according to the preprint site.

"[T]he average rejuvenation across four tissues was 54.2%. In other words, the treatment more than halved the epigenetic age," wrote the researchers in the recent preprint study.

This discovery is significant that the author didn't believe the results, sequencing the rat's genomes to ensure they didn't mix the rats up. Harvard Professor David Sinclair — one of the world's leading longevity researchers — wrote a Twitter thread that explains how the preprint study claims to have reversed the age of rats by 54% and shared notes from a conversation he had with the preprint study's first author, Professor Steve Horvath.

In a follow-up tweet, Sinclair said: "The result is so literally incredible that even the first author, Prof. Steve Horvath, didn't believe it at first. I suggested he check if the rats were mixed up, but he assured me he checked their genomes. The rats weren't mixed up," wrote Sinclair, quoting the first author.

Recently controversial, reverse aging field leaps forward

Sinclair noted how the source of this operation (from a commercial company called Nugenics, which sounds like "eugenics"), compounded by the name of the blood plasma fraction, "Elixer," doesn't inspire the most confidence — but the astounding results demanded analysis, said Sinclair.

 "Why would this be a big deal? Chemicals called methyls, which are added & subtracted from our DNA over time, control which genes remain on/off. This DNA methylation pattern can also serve as a BIOLOGICAL clock with <5% error. If you smoke or overeat, your clock ticks faster 4/n," wrote Sinclair in a reply tweet.

Sinclair's Twitter thread continued, saying of the aging field of study that it is embracing the idea that "changes to the methyl patterns and other gene regulators are a part of the aging process, and that it can be reversed."

He went on: "Six years ago, a lifetime in the aging field [of study], the mere suggestion that aging could be reversed was enough to have your colleagues & donors screw up their noses." This means the new study from Horvath and colleagues not only found incredible results, but also that they did so in a field of study often mocked just six short years ago.