Popeye can get energy from spinach, which was once only a fictional plot in the animation.
Now, however, scientists have extracted the vesicles that perform the photosynthesis (light-response phase) in spinach.
Scientists delivered this “biological battery” to the aging cells of mice, enabling the animals to borrow energy from plant photosynthesis to slow cell degeneration.
The results of the study have been published in Nature.
Insufficient cellular energy is an important cause of tissue aging and the development of degenerative diseases in animals.
The lack of energy and reducing agents hinders the normal conduct of anabolism.
whereas plants can produce the energy molecule ATP and the reducing agent NADPH through photosynthesis.
If the interspecies barrier can be removed, these molecules may be available to animals.
Dr. Xianfeng Lin and Professor Shunwu Fan’s team from the Department of Orthopedics, Run Run Shaw Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, and Professor Ruikang Tang’s team from the Department of Chemistry, Zhejiang University, have developed a cell membrane nanocoating technology.
The nanosized plant-like vesicles are covered with mammalian cell membranes – such camouflage can help scientists deliver plant-like vesicles more easily into mammalian mouse cells for specific energy supply.
The results showed that this treatment helped to increase intracellular ATP and NADPH levels in degenerating mouse cartilage, restoring it to a more youthful cellular metabolic state and reducing the pathological progression of osteoarthritis.