On February 25, the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences witnessed the publication of a new study stating that brain cells are fully capable of outliving a body they were part and parcel of for a considerable period of time.
Long story short, experiments carried out on mice and rats have shown that, when collected from a mouse and transplanted into a new body (i.e. the body of a rat fetus), brain cells have no issues in coming to terms with their new environment and live just as long as their second host.
In other words, the brain cells taken into consideration for this research got to live considerably longer than the body from which they were taken by the scientists.
Following the success of these experiments, it is being said that prolonging life might be well within our reach.
As explained by Dr. Lorenzo Magrassi, a neurosurgeon currently working with the University of Pavia in Italy, “We are slowly but continuously prolonging the life of humans.”
Live Science reports that the rat fetuses in which these brain cells were transplanted lived for roughly 36 months, whereas the life expectancy of the mice was one of just 18 months.
When the rats came fairly close to the point of dying of natural causes, the researchers euthanized them and inspected their brains.
Thus, they found that the mice brain cells were still very much alive and kicking despite their having resided in a foreign body for a significant amount of time.
Interestingly enough, it is the researchers' belief that, should they have once again collected these brain cells and transplanted them into a third body, the neurons would have continued living.
Life extension aside, the researchers who conducted these experiments are fairly confident that, on the longer run, their findings will yield significant benefits in terms of treating medical conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.