Biologists have found that insufficient content in red blood cells of the protein responsible for the release of oxygen, leads to poor cognitive abilities and premature aging. The results of the study are published in the journal PLOS Biology.
Researchers from the United States and China in experiments on mice found that with a decrease in the blood content of the protein ADORA2B in animals, memory and hearing deteriorate, inflammation develops in the brain and aging accelerates.
The adenosine receptor A2B, or ADORA2B, is part of the membrane of red blood cells, red blood cells, and helps release oxygen from the blood. It is known that its content in the blood decreases with age. The authors suggested that there is a direct link between this decline and brain aging.
To test this idea, they bred mice with no ADORA2B in their blood and compared their behavioral and physiological indicators with animals from the control group.
The results showed that as they aged, the mice deprived of ADORA2B showed stronger signs of cognitive decline than the animals in the control group. They also rapidly developed inflammatory processes in the brain.
In young mice, scientists conducted an experiment in which the animals were placed in conditions of oxygen starvation. In mice without ADORA2B, the behavioral and physiological effects of oxygen deprivation were much stronger than in normal mice.
Hence, the authors conclude that the ADORA2B protein regulates the supply of additional oxygen to the brain in case of a lack of it. With age, this intake decreases, and the rate of aging of the brain largely depends on how effectively this protein works. Therefore, scientists called ADORA2B an “anti-aging protein”.
“Red blood cells perform an essential function of delivering oxygen to maintain the bioenergetics of each cell in the body,” said study leader Dr. Yang Xia, from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University Of Texas McGovern School Of Medicine, in a press release. — Our results show that the ADORA2B red blood cell signaling cascade, by promoting oxygen delivery to the brain, combats the early onset of age-related cognitive decline, memory impairment, and hearing loss.”
The authors note that further research will be needed to determine whether ADORA2B levels naturally decline with age and whether treatment with drugs that activate ADORA2B can reduce cognitive decline and prevent premature aging.