Aging of the brain is the leading risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases and brain cancers and has deleterious effects on brain functions. It follows that attempts to reverse the aging process may be therapeutically valuable. Neural stem cells (NSC) have been shown to play a critical role in maintaining brain functions, and their number is severely decreased with age. The development of senescence-like characteristics and declining functions in NSCs have been proposed to be responsible for brain aging and tumorigenesis. MS-818 is a pyrrolopyrimidine that has been shown to increase the NSC population and reverse the decline of behavioral function in aged rodent models. While MS-818 has demonstrated such benefits, the mechanism by which it affects particular pathways of biological age in NSCs is not yet known. Understanding how MS-818 relates to the molecular mechanisms underlying cellular aging may help accelerate the development of anti-aging therapies for neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. This study attempts to elucidate the mechanism of action of MS-818 on NSCs using an in vitro accelerated-aging model produced by Hydroxyurea (HU) treatment. Our analysis of NSC population size post-MS-818 exposure supports the idea that MS-818 treatment can increase NSC proliferation. qPCR analysis of aging-related genes revealed HU treatment produced a trend of increased p16 and Il-6 and decreased Lamin B1 relative expression, supporting the notion that HU treatment can induce senescence in NSCs. MS-818 treatment alone also produced notable trends for targets including BRCA1. In addition, MS-818 treatment post-HU exposure appeared to influence the relative expression of targets, including PGC1a and Lamin B1. Such MS-818 treatment produced similarly noteworthy trends for the expression of genes including PGC1a, Lamin B1, BRCA1, RPTOR, and Il-6, whether in media containing 2.5% or 7.5% serum. These results indicate that MS-818 may have influenced some aging-related pathways.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Sugaya, Kiminobu


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Medicine


Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences

Degree Program




Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Release Date