ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Mayo Clinic researchers and collaborators say there’s a link between obesity and anxiety. Using obese mice in a study, results show anxiety is a consequence of the accumulation of senescent cells in the brain.
These cells are also referred to as ‘zombie cells’ because they don’t die and don’t perform the functions of a normal cell.
The team of researchers which included researchers from the Mayo Clinic Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging and the University of Newcastle, as well as others, determined that the study mice developed more fat cells in the brain area that controls anxiety and they had a significant increase of senescent cells in that region.
Clearing the cells with senolytic drugs, they found that it improved anxious behavior.
Clinical trials are underway, but researchers warn there’s still a lot more work to be done before they can say the drug is safe and effective.
“We’re very close,” said Dr. James Kirkland, Co-Senior Study Author. “In fact, within probably a few days of some of the early trials being reported. That said we do not want people going out and taking these drugs. These drugs are very much in the research phase. They’re for people that have severe illnesses that we’re including in these trials.”
Dr. Kirkland says normally it takes about 17 years to go from discovery to a clinical trial.
But he says his team was able to do a trial three years since publishing its first paper proving senolytic drugs work.