Could plasma exchange be the secret to the body’s regenerative capacities? A study has revealed that a mixture of saline and albumin rejuvenates muscle, brain, and liver tissue. This has been shown to reverse signs of aging in old mice. Clinical trials are currently underway to identify the effects of modified plasma exchange in humans. If successful, this could be used to treat age-related illnesses.

Blood plasma exchange
Blood plasma exchange

In 2005, researchers at the University of California-Berkley conjoined twins from young and old mice so that they would share blood and organs. They found that this rejuvenated tissue and reversed the signs of aging in old mice. 

Further Research on Blood Plasma Exchange

The 2005 study was followed by additional research by the same team and focused on whether youthful blood contains special proteins or molecules that could serve as a “fountain of youth” for both humans and mice.
A recent study has revealed that similar age-reversing effects can be achieved by diluting the blood plasma of old mice, without the need for young blood.

Study results showed that replacing half of the blood plasma of the old mice with a mixture of saline and albumin produced the same rejuvenation effects on the brain, liver, and muscle as pairing old mice and young mice. In some cases, the effects were even stronger. Notably, the procedure had no detrimental effects on the health of the young mice.

How Blood Plasma Exchange Works

According to researchers, the plasma exchange process acts as a molecular “reset” button. It does this by lowering the levels of many pro-inflammatory proteins that increase with age. It also provides more beneficial proteins.

Therapeutic Blood Plasma Exchange 

Altering the blood plasma composition is an FDA-approved treatment for various autoimmune diseases. More clinical trials are being conducted to identify the effects of modified plasma exchange in humans. The goal is to improve the health of older adults. Scientists are also investigating the effectiveness of blood plasma exchange in the treatment of age-related illnesses, such as muscle wasting, neurodegeneration, and Type 2 diabetes.

The Bottom Line

With age, a build-up of certain proteins inhibits tissue maintenance and repair. Diluting these proteins through blood exchange has been shown to rejuvenate those tissues. However, adding proteins from young blood could harm the patient. Dilution of age-elevated proteins represents a safer therapeutic alternative. This process may also increase levels of “young” proteins by removing factors that could suppress them.