The aging central nervous system (CNS) of mammals displays progressive limited regenerative abilities. Recovery after loss of neurons is extremely restricted in the aged brain. Many research models fall short in recapitulating mammalian aging hallmarks or have an impractically long lifespan. We established a traumatic brain injury model in the African turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri), a regeneration-competent vertebrate that evolved to naturally age extremely fast. Stab-wound injury of the aged killifish dorsal telencephalon unveils an impaired and incomplete regeneration response when compared to young individuals. In the young adult killifish, brain regeneration is mainly supported by atypical non-glial progenitors, yet their proliferation capacity clearly declines with age. We identified a high inflammatory response and glial scarring to also underlie the hampered generation of new neurons in aged fish. These primary results will pave the way to unravel the factor age in relation to neurorepair, and to improve therapeutic strategies to restore the injured and/or diseased aged mammalian CNS.
© 2021 The Authors. Aging Cell published by Anatomical Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.