The choroid plexus produces cerebrospinal fluid, which performs a number of roles in the brain. As we age signals from this region change, and appear to be a key regulator of neural stem cell behaviour
Stem cells for the most part exist in small niches, where their behaviour is largely dependent on their surroundings. A large aspect of the aging process, in regards to stem cells, appears to be the influence of external factors on these delicately balanced niches. Inflammation rises with age, and these factors can tip this balance - interfering with stem cell self renewal and differentiation into crucial new cells.
Could the choroid plexus play a role in neural aging?
The choroid plexus releases a number of chemical signals carried in cerebrospinal fluid, which bathes and protects the brain. This fluid comes into contact with stem cell niches, which are delicately regulated. A group from the University of Basel has discovered that an old choroid plexus releases different signals, and this shift reduces the ability of neural stem cells to transform into new neurons.
"What is really amazing is that when you cultivate old stem cells with signals from young fluid, they can still be stimulated to divide - behaving like the young stem cells.We can imagine the choroid plexus as a watering can that provides signals to the stem cells. Our investigations also open a new route for understanding how different physiological states of the body influence stem cells in the brain during health and disease, and opens new ways for thinking about therapy"
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