Theranostics 2019; 9(1):1-10. doi:10.7150/thno.30422

Research Paper

Bioassay for monitoring the anti-aging effect of cord blood treatment

Sang-Hun Bae1*, Ala Jo1,2*, Jae Hyun Park1, Chul-Woo Lim1, Yuri Choi1, Juhyun Oh2, Ji-Min Park1, TaeHo Kong1, Ralph Weissleder2,3, Hakho Lee2✉, Jisook Moon1✉

1. Department of Biotechnology, College of Life Science, CHA University, Gyeonggi-do 13488, Republic of Korea
2. Center for Systems Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA
3. Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
*These authors contributed equally.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Bae SH, Jo A, Park JH, Lim CW, Choi Y, Oh J, Park JM, Kong T, Weissleder R, Lee H, Moon J. Bioassay for monitoring the anti-aging effect of cord blood treatment. Theranostics 2019; 9(1):1-10. doi:10.7150/thno.30422. Available from

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Background: Treating aged animals with plasma of an early developmental stage (e.g, umbilical cord plasma) showed an impressive potential to slow age-associated degradation of neuronal and cognitive functions. Translating such findings to clinical realities, however, requires effective ways for assessing treatment efficacy; ideal methods should be minimally invasive, amenable for serial assays, cost-effective, and quantitative.

Methods: We developed a new biosensor approach to monitor anti-aging therapy. We advanced two key sensor components: i) a blood-borne metabolite was identified as a surrogate aging-marker; and ii) a compact and cost-effective assay system was developed for on-site applications. We treated aged mice either with human umbilical cord plasma or saline; unbiased metabolite profiling on mouse plasma revealed arachidonic acid (AA) as a potent indicator associated with anti-aging effect. We next implemented a competitive magneto-electrochemical sensor (cMES) optimized for AA detection directly from plasma. The developed platform could detect AA directly from small volumes of plasma (0.5 µL) within 1.5 hour.

Results: cMES assays confirmed a strong correlation between AA levels and anti-aging effect: AA levels, while decreasing with aging, increased in the plasma-treated aged mice which also showed improved learning and memory performance.

Conclusions: The cMES platform will empower both pre- and clinical anti-aging research by enabling minimally invasive, longitudinal treatment surveillance; these capacities will accelerate the development of anti-aging therapies, improving the quality of individual lives.

Keywords: Anti-aging, Arachidonic acid, Metabolite profiling, Magneto-electrochemical sensor, Biosensor