BEIJING, April 2 (Xinhua) — Chinese scientists have found a new therapeutic target for rejuvenating aging cells, shedding light on possible gene therapy for osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is characterized by the degeneration of articular cartilage, which seriously affects the quality of life of the elderly. Aging and mesenchymal stem cell attrition are considered the main causes of osteoarthritis.
Therefore, revealing the molecular mechanisms of mesenchymal stem cell aging will provide clues for effective intervention for osteoarthritis.
Scientists from the Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Peking University and the Institute of Zoology of the CAS have found that a protein named CBX4 safeguards mesenchymal stem cells against cellular aging, thus controlling the development of osteoarthritis.
Experiments on mice show that the overexpression of CBX4 alleviates cellular senescence, inhibits inflammation and stimulates cartilage regeneration, thereby effectively controlling the pathological process of osteoarthritis.
According to Liu Guanghui, one of the corresponding authors, the finding not only highlights CBX4 as a key gatekeeper for mesenchymal stem cell aging but also open possibilities for treating age-related disorders in the future.
“The research proves the feasibility of using gene therapy strategies to rejuvenate senescent cells and treat osteoarthritis, providing a promising option for future geriatrics and regenerative medicine,” Liu said.
The research was published in the journal Cell Reports.