London: Researchers from University of Edinburgh have succeeded for the first time in regenerating an elderly organ in a living animal has been to a youthful state by manipulating DNA.
The thymus, which sits near the heart and is critical for immune function, becomes smaller and less effective with age, making people more susceptible to infection, the BBC reported.
The thymus, which produces T-cells to battle infections, becomes just a tenth of the size in adolescents by the age of 70.
The team tried to regenerate the thymus of old mice.
A gene, called Foxn1, naturally shuts down as the thymus ages and the team tried to bring it back to youthful levels.
The team tried boosting the activity of the gene in elderly mice by using a drug.
The results suggest that boosting Foxn1 activity in elderly mice could help them gain the thymus of a much younger animal.
The study has been published in the journal Development.