Heterochronic parabiosis: a valuable tool to investigate cellular senescence and other hallmarks of aging

Matthew J. Yousefzadeh, Paul D. Robbins, Derek M. Huffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Parabiosis is a well-established method to facilitate a shared blood supply between two conjoined animals. In particular, the pairing of mice of dissimilar ages, termed heterochronic parabiosis, has been used extensively for differentiating cell autonomous and non-autonomous mechanisms of aging. Analysis of heterochronic parabionts also has helped to identify individual circulating factors that may act as either pro or anti-geronics. Heterochronic parabiosis also has proven to be a valuable experimental system to evaluate the effects of specific hallmarks of aging on the process of aging. For example, heterochronic parabiosis was used recently to examine whether cellular senescence was driven via cell autonomous and/or non-autonomous mechanisms. As anticipated, markers of cellular senescence were elevated in old isochronically-paired mice relative to young controls. However, compared to old isochronically paired mice, the senescent cell burden was reduced in multiple tissues of old parabionts joined with young mice. This suggests that the rejuvenation of cells and tissues in old mice by exposure to young blood could be mediated, in part, through suppression or immune clearance of senescent cells. Conversely, young heterochronic parabionts showed increased markers of cellular senescence, demonstrating that exposure to an old circulation is able to drive senescence through a cell non-autonomous mechanism(s), likely contributing to accelerated aging in the young mice. Thus, heterochronic parabiosis is still an important methodology that should continue to be leveraged for evaluating other hallmarks of aging and their mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3325-3328
Number of pages4
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2022


  • Aging
  • Cellular senescence
  • Geroscience
  • Heterochronic parabiosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cell Biology


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