• Open Access

Heterochronic parabiosis: historical perspective and methodological considerations for studies of aging and longevity

Authors

  • Michael J. Conboy,

    1. Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
    2. QB3 Institute, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Irina M. Conboy,

    1. Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
    2. QB3 Institute, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Thomas A. Rando

    Corresponding author
    1. Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for the Biology of Aging and the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA
    2. Neurology Service and Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA, USA
    • Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Correspondence

Dr Thomas A. Rando, Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5235, USA. Tel.: +1 650 849 1999; fax: +1 650 858 3935; e-mail: rando@stanford.edu

Summary

Pairing two animals in parabiosis to test for systemic or circulatory factors from one animal affecting the other animal has been used in scientific studies for at least 150 years. These studies have led to advances in fields as diverse as endocrinology, immunology, and oncology. A variation on the technique, heterochronic parabiosis, whereby two animals of different ages are joined to test for systemic regulators of aspects of aging or age-related diseases also has almost a century-long scientific history. In this review, we focus on the history of heterochronic parabiosis, methodological considerations and caveats, and the major advances that have emerged from those studies, including recent advances in our understanding of stem cell aging.

Ancillary