Lack of oxygen-releasing protein in red blood cells leads to cognitive impairment and premature aging.
According to scientists from the U.S. and China, it is a lack of oxygen leads to aging and contributes to a decrease in cognitive function and hearing loss with age.
In experiments on mice, researchers found that with a decrease in the blood protein ADORA2B, animals have impaired memory and hearing, developed inflammation in the brain and accelerated aging. It is part of the red blood cell membrane and helps release oxygen from the blood. But as we age, its content in the blood decreases significantly. Scientists suggested that there is a direct link between these factors.
As an experiment, the study authors bred mice lacking ADORA2B and compared their behavior and physiology with animals from the control group. The animals were placed under oxygen starvation, and it turned out that as they aged, mice whose blood did not have ADORA2B lost cognitive ability faster and more markedly than animals in the control group. From this, the authors conclude that the ADORA2B protein regulates the supply of extra oxygen to the brain when it is deficient.
“Our results show that the red blood cell signaling cascade ADORA2B, by promoting oxygen delivery to the brain, combats the early onset of age-related cognitive decline and memory and hearing impairment,” said study leader Dr. Yang Xia of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The University of Texas McGovern School of Medicine.
The authors note that further studies will be needed to determine whether treatment with drugs that activate ADORA2B can attenuate cognitive decline and prevent premature aging.