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

Aging Cell. 2013 Jun;12(3):525-30. doi: 10.1111/acel.12065. Epub 2013 Apr 10.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology*
  • Longevity
  • Parabiosis / methods*
  • Stem Cells / physiology*