Editors' ChoiceAging

Excess Signaling Is Bad for the Aging Brain

Sci. Signal.  07 Oct 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 346, pp. ec277
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005992

Preventing antiviral-like responses may protect function in the aging brain. Baruch et al. monitored messenger RNA production in the choroid plexus, the interface between the blood and cerebrospinal fluid, in young and old mice (see the Perspective by Ransohoff). They detected an inflammatory response in older mice not present in the brain of young mice that was also seen in old aged human samples postmortem. Preventing signaling by type I interferons, which normally mediates the antiviral response of the immune system, helped prevent the decrease in cognitive function seen in aged mice.

K. Baruch, A. Deczkowska, E. David, J. M. Castellano, O. Miller, A. Kertser, T. Berkutzki, Z. Barnett-Itzhaki, D. Bezalel, T. Wyss-Coray, I. Amit, M. Schwartz, Aging-induced type I interferon response at the choroid plexus negatively affects brain function. Science 346, 89–93 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]

R. M. Ransohoff, Good barriers make good neighbors. Science 346, 36–37 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]