Key to Anti-aging trilogy ~ Stem Cell & Immune Cell


The aging population is a global issue. Taiwan has become an “aging society” in 1993 and an “aged society” in 2018, and is expected to become a “super-aged society” in 2025. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also proposed the concept of "healthy aging" to address this issue. "Healthy aging" means to extend the concept of health to the anti-senescence process and focus on improving the quality of life and prolonging the life span, so that human beings can live a healthier and longer life.

[Key to Anti-aging trilogy Part 1 ~ senescence and anti- senescence]

A new study published in the journal Nature in 2021 shows that human life expectancy will increase to 120-150 years, and we have learned that one of the most important factors affecting life expectancy is senescence (aging). Senescence is a complex biological process that occurs as an organism ages and is accompanied by physiological changes that result in the gradual deterioration of organs, tissues, cells, and molecules in the body, and a corresponding decrease in the ability to adapt to the environment.

The main changes in human senescence include: loss of body flexibility and balance, loss of muscles, deterioration of skin, drooping eyelids, sagging skin on the face and neck, increasing wrinkles, growing teeth, decreasing vascular elasticity, deterioration of brain function, changes in sleep habits, lack of interest in new tasks, frequent urination and constipation, etc.

"Senescence" is the process of decay of life by internal and external environmental disturbances, in other words, "anti-senescence" is to resist interference. To live to the expected lifespan and to pursue a higher quality of life is the higher demand for "anti-senescence". However, in order to resist the interference of internal and external environment on life process, such as microbial infection, cell mutation and tumor development, we need a healthy and strong defense system, i.e. "immune system"; abnormal immune function is one of the important factors that cause senescence. Damage to the body caused by internal and external environments, if not repaired in time, can lead to chronic inflammation and various chronic diseases. Therefore, maintaining a strong tissue repair system is essential for disease treatment and anti-senescence.

Another document pointed out that the longer the age, the lower the viability and number of stem cells in the body. That is to say, senescence of the human body is ultimately senescence of "cells". Therefore, the most fundamental way to "anti-senescence" is to start from cells, among which "stem cells" and "immune cells" play a pivotal role.

[Key to Anti-aging trilogy Part 2: the role of stem cells in anti-senescence]

Studies have shown that senescence is closely related to aging and decrease in the number of stem cells. "Stem cells" play many roles in anti-senescence process, including tissue repair, metabolic regulation, inflammation control, and differentiation into immune cells, etc.

I. Tissue repair
The occurrence of disease or the senescence process originates from tissue damage, resulting in incomplete tissue structure and even affecting normal function. The main mechanisms of "stem cells" for tissue repair are as follows.
1. As a source of repair for damaged tissues.
2. Secrete growth factors to improve the local microenvironment of the damaged tissue, these growth factors can promote cell proliferation, which in turn can repair the damaged tissue. The literature confirms that mesenchymal stem cells can secrete hundreds of cytokines, which play a crucial role in the repair process of each damaged area.
3. Enhance body function. For example, after stem cell infusion, sleep is improved, or physical strength and exercise ability are improved, which is of great significance for damage repair.

II. Metabolic regulation
Good metabolic capacity is the key to longevity and anti-senescence. On the one hand, we can reduce the burden of metabolic organs through dietary control to achieve the purpose of maintaining a stable balance of the metabolic system; on the other hand, we can also enhance the function of metabolic organs through the help of drugs or stem cells to achieve the role of anti-senescence.

III. Inflammation control
Damage and repair is a dynamic process, and inflammation plays an important role in the process of damage repair. The immune mechanism is triggered by the injury site to generate an inflammatory response, and immune cells are summoned to remove the injured cells, while regenerative cells are allowed to participate in the repair process by secreting cytokines to suppress the inflammatory response and using the self-renewal ability of regenerative cells to achieve tissue repair.

IV. Differentiation into immune cells
The immune system plays a much larger role in anti-senescence than we think, and immune cells, which play the role of body scavengers, are the strongest bulwark to protect the body's health.

[Key to Anti-aging trilogy Part 3: The Role of Immune Cells in Anti-Senescence]

The most important defense team in the human body is the immune cells, including T cells, B cells, dendritic cells, and NK cells, which can efficiently identify and remove senescence and apoptotic cells in the body, maintain the stability of the body environment, improve the living environment of various cells, reduce the harm of aging cells, and directly prevent senescence-related diseases.

Organisms grow because cells are constantly dividing, but most cells do not divide indefinitely. When the cell division reaches an upper limit, the cell division program will be shut down. Such cells are "senescence cells" that no longer divide, and are also called "zombie cells". 

In February 2016, the journal "Nature" published the latest results of American molecular biologists: the removal of senescence "zombie cells" can extend the lifespan of animals by 20%-30%, and immune cells are the main force in removing senescent cells. Studies have shown that "zombie cells" produce large amounts of harmful substances that are associated with promoting inflammation. Eliminating zombie cells with "immune cells" has the potential to improve many chronic diseases, including cataracts, diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, heart enlargemen, kidney problems, arterial blockage, and senile sarcopenia.

[Key to Anti-aging trilogy Final chapter: Stem cells and Immune cells]

With the continuous improvement of people's age and quality of life, the demand for anti-aging is increasing. "Stem cells" have the ability of self-renewal, multi-directional differentiation, and secretion of growth factors, which have shown promising applications in clinical medicine such as wound repair, tissue regeneration, and anti-aging; while "immune cells" have the ability of removing zombie cells and are one of the key focus of anti-aging. Therefore, in the future, the application of "stem cells" and "immune cells" may become a new anti-aging method for human beings in order to maintain and enhance physiological functions and bodily functions, prolong the length of life and improve the quality of life.

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