Published online Feb 20, 2017. doi: 10.5493/wjem.v7.i1.1
Peer-review started: August 29, 2016
First decision: November 14, 2016
Revised: November 19, 2016
Accepted: December 7, 2016
Article in press: December 9, 2016
Published online: February 20, 2017
Pluripotent stem cells have the remarkable self-renewal ability and are capable of differentiating into multiple diverse cells. There is increasing evidence that the aging process can have adverse effects on stem cells. As stem cells age, their renewal ability deteriorates and their ability to differentiate into the various cell types is altered. Accordingly, it is suggested aging-induced deterioration of stem cell functions may play a key role in the pathophysiology of the various aging-associated disorders. Understanding the role of the aging process in deterioration of stem cell function is crucial, not only in understanding the pathophysiology of aging-associated disorders, but also in future development of novel effective stem cell-based therapies to treat aging-associated diseases. This review article first focuses on the basis of the various aging disease-related stem cell dysfunction. It then addresses the several concepts on the potential mechanism that causes aging-related stem cell dysfunction. It also briefly discusses the current potential therapies under development for aging-associated stem cell defects.
Core tip: Stem cells have the remarkable self-renewal capability and the amazing ability to differentiate into all cell types. It is generally believe that stem cells are the main source that provides cells to repair and regenerate damaged tissues and organs. However, there is now compelling evidence that the aging process has a deleterious effect on stem cells, and that the aging effects on stem cells may have play essential roles in the pathophysiology of the various aging-associated diseases. This review discusses briefly the relationship of aging-associated stem cell dysfunction and the various aging-associated ailments, and several proposed concepts on the molecular mechanism of aging-related stem cell dysfunction.