Study Shows Brain Cells Can Live Outside The Body for 100 years
In the living body there are many different cell types. Different cells divide and die at different rates. Some cells, such as those lining the gastrointestinal tract, live out their life cycles in only a few days and are replaced by the offspring of stem cells.
However in a recent study by the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Pavia in Italy, brain cells, also known as neurons, appear to be able to exist far longer than the life of their host, how long?, by about 100 years.
According to Dr. Lorenzo Magrassi, a neurosurgeon at the University of Pavia “brain cells do age, but extremely slowly, the longevity of the cells can be altered by a variety of negative health factors, but generally only if afflicted by diseases,”
Researchers have always speculated that brain cells might be able to far outlive the lifespan of their host.
The experiments were conducted as follows:
The team removed embryonic neuron precursors from mice and transplanted them into the developing brain of a Wistar rat, an animal that has twice the life span of the mouse.
The mice neurons were labeled, and the rats with transplanted nerve cells were followed for their entire lifespan.
It was discovered that the mice neurons survived for the entire lifespan of the recipient rats, proving that brain cells are capable of far outliving their original mouse hosts.
This finding is significant because science is slowly working to preserve the human body. However until this discovery, it was not clear if the human brain cells could remain preserved to match the extended life of the body. In the the near future, it is quite possible that scientists will be able to preserve and transfer brain neurons from one healthy person to the other in the case of Traumatic Brain Injury or degenerative disease.
*Interesting Note: The study also proves that If it wasn’t for our weakling bodies, the brain with oxygenated blood, could potentially live indefinitely.