Científicos israelíes descubren cómo revertir el envejecimiento celular

Reem Dowery (izquierda) y Doron Melamed (derecha)
Reem Dowery (izquierda) y Doron Melamed (derecha)

Un equipo de científicos israelíes afirmó que encontró una manera de rejuvenecer el proceso de envejecimiento del sistema inmunológico del cuerpo.

El Prof. Doron Melamed, junto con la estudiante de doctorado Reem Dowery, del Instituto de Tecnología Technion, buscaron comprender por qué la población anciana es más susceptible a los casos graves de COVID-19 y por qué las vacunas parecen tener menos efectividad y disminuyen más rápidamente entre esta población.

Los resultados de su trabajo se publicaron este mes en la revista Blood, revisada por sus pares.

El secreto comienza con las células B, también conocidas como linfocitos B. Estas son las células que producen anticuerpos contra cualquier patógeno que ingrese al cuerpo. Desempeñan un papel clave en la protección de las personas contra los virus y otras enfermedades.

Las células B se producen en la médula ósea, luego viajan a través de la sangre hasta los ganglios linfáticos y el bazo, donde esperan la entrada de patógenos, y luego los atacan.

«Cuando eres joven, tienes células jóvenes. Y las células jóvenes tienen una capacidad muy diversa para reconocer cualquier cosa que ingrese a tu cuerpo», explicó Melamed a The Jerusalem Post.

Por su parte, las células B no viven mucho. Más bien, se reponen constantemente con nuevas células B enviadas desde la médula ósea, creando lo que Melamed llama «homeostasis»; la cantidad total de células B en la médula ósea y en el exterior permanece estancada.

Sin embargo, las células B no desaparecen simplemente. Se convierten en células B de «memoria», de modo que si el cuerpo está expuesto a un patógeno anterior, el individuo no se enfermará. Esto se debe a que la respuesta inmune será rápida y robusta y eliminará el patógeno, a menudo sin siquiera sentir que está expuesto.

A diferencia de las células B, las células de memoria son de larga duración.

“Imagina que estás creciendo hasta la edad adulta y te conviertes en un adulto y luego en una persona mayor. Acumulas en tu cuerpo muchas células de memoria. Estás expuesto todo el tiempo a patógenos y, por lo tanto, creas más y más células de memoria. Debido a que tienen una vida tan larga, no queda espacio para nuevas células B», dijo Melamed, uno de los científicos israelíes, tras el nuevo descubrimiento sobre cómo revertir el envejecimiento celular.

Entonces, ¿qué sucede cuando aparece un nuevo patógeno, como el coronavirus? No hay células B jóvenes que puedan reconocerlo.

Esa es una de las razones por las que las personas mayores son más susceptibles al COVID-19 grave y a muchas otras enfermedades.
Como se señaló, esto sucede debido a la necesidad del cuerpo de homeostasis, algo que el laboratorio de Melamed descubrió hace una década.

Pero este año, tomó el descubrimiento un paso más y descubrió el mecanismo para anular el sistema.

«Encontramos señales hormonales específicas producidas por las células B viejas, las células de memoria, que inhiben que la médula ósea produzca nuevas células B», expresó. “Este es un gran descubrimiento. Es como encontrar una aguja en un pajar».

También significa que, con el tiempo, se podrían encontrar medicamentos o tratamientos específicos para inhibir una de las hormonas en la vía de señalización y hacer que la médula ósea produzca nuevas células B.

Vía The Jerusalem Post

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