The purpose of this FOA is to invite pilot/feasibility projects for: 1) descriptive studies to identify putative juvenile protective factors, 2) experimental studies to test hypotheses about their effects on aging and 3) translational studies to characterize potential beneficial and adverse effects of maintaining or modulating the level of juvenile protective factors in adult life. Juvenile protective factors (JPFs), intrinsic to an immature organism, help to maintain or enhance certain physiological functions across all or some stages of postnatal development (i.e., segment of the life span between birth and sexual maturity), but diminish or disappear as the organism transitions from one maturational stage to the next. The loss or diminution of JPFs after a given stage of postnatal development or at time of sexual maturity may contribute to the onset of deleterious aging changes (e.g., compromised stem cell function and reparative capacity) across adulthood. This FOA is uniquely focused on animal and clinical studies which involve comparisons between juvenile versus adult states or between stages of postnatal development to identify putative JPFs and their effects on aging.
Pilot studies which involve comparisons between young and old adults will not be supported by this FOA.