Blood Protein Changes Linked To Aging Process

Protein Waves In Blood Linked To Aging Process: Shots – Health News : NPR – by Richard Harris – Dec 2019

Scientists know that if they transfuse blood from a young mouse to an old one, then they can stave off or even reverse some signs of aging. But they don’t know what in the blood is responsible for this remarkable effect.

Researchers now report that they’ve identified hundreds of proteins in human blood that wax and wane in surprising ways as we age.

Wyss-Coray and his colleagues report in Nature Medicine on Thursday that these proteins change in three distinct waves, the first of which happens “very surprisingly” during our 30s, peaking around age 34.  

“Then we found a second wave around 60, and then we found a third one, the most prominent one, really around 80 years of age,” Wyss-Coray said.

This perfectly explains what I’ve been going through in the years since I turned 60. My condition is worsening more dramatically than ever and I’ve been struggling to find a reason (especially one under my control, if at all possible).

When I turned 30, I was still in top shape, but over the following years my fitness started to decline dramatically, I started suffering from strange pains, and I was no longer able to maintain my condition like the rest of my age cohort. It became pure agony trying to keep up with my friends.

And now in my early 60’s I’m suffering another series of increasing limitations from increasing symptoms of EDS. Watching how horribly my mother’s EDS worsened after she turned 80 frightens me – and apparently, with good reason.

An earlier version of their paper (PDF file) is freely available on the bioRxiv preprint server.

Most of the proteins in the blood are actually from other tissue sources,” he said. “So we can start to ask where … these proteins come from and if they change with age,” he said. For example, in proteins traced back to the liver, “that would tell us that the liver is aging.”

Transfusing blood plasma carries some risks — in fact, this year the Food and Drug Administration slapped down companies for trying to sell plasma from young people as an anti-aging elixir. It would be better to isolate components in the blood that are responsible for beneficial effects.

Research groups are already studying proteins one by one to find those that might actually influence health. For example, Irina Conboy’s lab at the University of California, Berkeley has been studying a protein called TGF-beta, which contributes to aging. Her mouse experimentssuggest that aging effects can be slowed when this protein is blocked.

With this flood of new data about blood proteins, it’s a daunting task to figure out whether each one

  • causes aging,
  • slows it down or
  • is merely a result of the aging process.

Sorting out that question about causality is important.

After all, graying hair is a biomarker of aging, but hair dye won’t reverse the underlying biology.

While utterly obvious in the above example, this issue is seldom considered when someone is determined to find a causal relationship, like between taking opioid medication and suffering pain and depression.

Instead of understanding that the amount of medication is purposely correlated with pain levels, the subsequent pain (since we’re not supposed to take enough opioid medication to get to having no pain at all) and depression is assumed to be caused by the medication itself.

It’s terribly ironic that the medication being prescribed and consumed to treat pain is being blamed for causing the very symptoms it’s being used to treat. Yet, very few people seem to notice.

I’m seeing more and more biased research supposedly “proving” this, going to extreme lengths to confound data by ignoring the symptom being treated to show that “opioids cause more pain and depression”. (see Opioids Blamed for Consequences of Chronic Pain)

“For a long time we have focused, in the field of healthy aging, on genetics,” says Paola Sebastiani, a biostatistics professor at Boston University who has also researched the link between aging and proteins in the blood

But your genes are set from birth, and they can’t be modified to improve your health.

What’s intriguing about blood proteins and similar molecules is that you can block them or find other ways to modify them with drugs, at least in theory, “until eventually you’re going to help people age healthily,” she says.

Author: You can contact NPR science correspondent Richard Harris at

There was another article about this from the NIH which includes a link to the study on PubMed:

Blood protein signatures change across lifespan | National Institutes of Health (NIH) —by Sharon Reynolds – Jan 2020

The bloodstream touches all the tissues of the body.

It carries nutrients to tissues and takes waste products away.

Tissues also release proteins into the bloodstream that can communicate with other parts of the body, help mount an immune response to disease, and much more.

Because of this constant flow of proteins through the body, some blood tests measure specific proteins to help diagnose diseases. Examples include diabetes, heart disease, and kidney and liver problems. Scientists have been curious about whether blood proteins could be used to more broadly assess people’s health and wellness.

Overall, about two-thirds of the proteins found to change with age differed between men and women. This supports the idea that men and women age differently—and highlights the need to include both sexes in clinical studies for a wide range of diseases.

The researchers identified a subset of 373 proteins that could accurately predict people’s age within a range of a few years in both men and women.

Participants who were predicted by their protein signature to be younger than they actually were performed better than their peers on cognitive and physical tests.

Some of the proteins found in these peaks had previously been associated with the development of age-related diseases. For example, proteins associated with cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease were found in the peaks at 60 and 78 years of age.

it hasn’t been appreciated that so many different proteins’ levels—roughly a third of all the ones we looked at—change markedly with advancing age.

References: Undulating changes in human plasma proteome profiles across the lifespan. Lehallier B, Gate D, Schaum N, Nanasi T, Lee SE, Yousef H, Moran Losada P, Berdnik D, Keller A, Verghese J, Sathyan S, Franceschi C, Milman S, Barzilai N, Wyss-Coray T. Nat Med. 2019 Dec;25(12):1843-1850. doi: 10.1038/s41591-019-0673-2. Epub 2019 Dec 5. PMID: 31806903.

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