In heterochronic parabiosis, the circulatory systems of an old and young animal are connected. The young animal exhibits some aspects of accelerated aging, while the old animal exhibits some degree of rejuvenation. Early investigations focused on the supply of factors in young blood to the old animal as the causative mechanism, and GDF11 was one of the first such factors identified for further research and development. There has been some controversy over the published works on this topic, however, stemming initially from technical issues involved in working with GDF11, then later from investigations that point to dilution of harmful factors in old blood being the dominant mechanism in heterochronic parabiosis. The company Elevian claims to have resolved these issues, and is advancing therapies based on delivering GDF11, but it will probably be at least a few more years before there is a clear view into the details of their work.
Growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11), a member of the TGF-β superfamily, has recently received attention because of its numerous functions in modulating the development and differentiation of various tissues and organs. Studies regarding the role of GDF11
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