In Some Truly Shit News, Poo Transplants Could Reverse the Signs of Ageing

In Some Truly Shit News, Poo Transplants Could Reverse the Signs of Ageing
A still from the South Park 'Turd Burglars' episode. If you know, you know. Image: Comedy Central

I’m just going to cut straight to the chase – researchers have said poo transplants could reverse the hallmarks of ageing.

In something straight out of a South Park episode, scientists at the Quadram Institute and the University of East Anglia have said poo transplants can reverse the hallmarks of ageing. They made such a claim after performing the faecal transplant in mice.

They said: “Transplanting faecal microbiota from young into old mice can reverse hallmarks of ageing in the gut, eyes and brain”.

Scientists transferred the gut microbes from aged mice into healthy young mice, and vice versa. They then looked at how this affected inflammatory hallmarks of ageing in the gut, brain and eye, which suffer from declining function in later life.

They found that the microbiota from old donors led to loss of integrity of the lining of the gut, allowing bacterial products to cross into the circulation. They said this results in triggering the immune system and inflammation in the brain and eyes.

As explained by the university, in the reverse experiment, microbes from aged mice induced inflammation in the brain of young recipients and depleted a key protein required for normal vision.

“These findings show that gut microbes play a role in the regulating some of the detrimental effects of ageing and open up the possibility of gut microbe-based therapies to combat decline in later life,” they said.

According to Professor Simon Carding from the UEA Norwich Medical School (he’s also head of the Gut Microbes and Health Research Programme at the Quadram Institute), this poo transplant study provides “tantalising evidence” for the direct involvement of gut microbes in ageing and the functional decline of brain function and vision.

He said it offers a potential solution in the form of gut microbe replacement therapy.

The team are now working to understand how long these positive effects can last, and to identify the beneficial components of the young donor microbiota and how they impact on organs distant from the gut.

‘Fecal microbiota transfer between young and aged mice reverses hallmarks of the aging gut, eye, and brain’ is published in the journal Microbiome.

Perhaps wait until there’s a little more research before rushing out to get a poo transplant to stop the ageing process.