Scientists at the University of Exeter have rejuvenated inactive, senescent cells. A class of genes called splicing factors are progressively switched off as we age. They are crucial in ensuring that genes can perform their full range of functions. For exmample, a given gene can send out several messages to the body to perform a function — such as the decision whether or not to grow new blood vessels — and the splicing factors make the decision about which message to make. As people age, the splicing factors tend to work less efficiently or not at all. In the study, the researchers applied compounds, called reversatrol analogues, to cells in culture. The chemicals caused the splicing factors to be switched back on and the senescent cells began to look younger and start to rejuvenate, behaving like young cells and dividing. The rejuvenated cells also had longer telomeres — the ‘caps’ on the chromosomes which shorten as we age. This breakthrough discovery is expected to help people age better and enjoy health for their entire lives.