Aging is not associated with neuronal loss

A series of studies conducted at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (FMVZ) of the University of Sao Paulo (USP), in Brazil, suggests that the process of aging is not necessarily associated with a decrease in the number of neurons , this count can remain stable or even increase in the elderly. The research is carried out in said university under the coordination of the stereologist Antonio Augusto Coppi.

In some of the cases that underwent this study, the number of neurons remained stable or even increased with aging, according to researchers from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics of USP.

The studies were conducted under the stereology , a science that allows the analysis of samples in three dimensions, including depth. This technique allows great accuracy in the total number of objects, as well as the true size in volume and other parameters.

For the researcher Coppi, the previous studies in this field that created a relationship between aging and the reduction of the number of neurons were performed with less advanced techniques.

The experts of the USP measured for 9 years parts of the peripheral nervous system of different animals such as rodents, dogs and horses.


The results

Among the results, it was pointed out that in the majority of the species, aging was associated with an increase in the volume of the mass of the neurons. The increase in volume is a mechanism of the body to maintain the amount of substances produced by these cells, such as neurotransmitters, as a way to prevent the reduction of neurons caused by disease, "according to Coppi.

Regarding the number of neurons, the results were very different according to the species and the stages of development. In dogs the number of neurons increased by 700% with aging, while senile rodents had the same number as young ones, and in rabbits a reduction of 21% was recorded. "The results suggest that there is no specific norm regarding the number of neurons with aging," according to Coppi.

The complete study on the website of the University of Sao Paolo //

Video Medicine: Memory and the Aging Brain (June 2021).