DNA damage can cause premature ageing in bone-marrow-derived stem cells, making it harder for them to function, two papers appearing in Nature suggest. The finding has implications for the use of adult stem cells in transplantation.
Long-lived multicellular organisms depend on small pools of slowly dividing stem cells to replenish lost tissue, and it's important that these reserves are self-renewed and maintained with minimal mutations throughout life.
Derrick J. Rossi and colleagues now show that blood-forming stem cells from the bone marrow of mice accumulate DNA damage with age. This, they say, might underlie the reduced capacity of stem cells to yield new tissues and repair injury over time.
Richard J. Cornall and colleagues studied bone-marrow-derived stem cells from a mouse strain that has problems repairing DNA damage, and arrived at a similar conclusion - under physiological conditions, unrepaired DNA damage in stem cells can lead to an age-dependent decline in their numbers.
Derrick J. Rossi (Stanford University, CA, USA)
Richard J. Cornall (Oxford University, UK)
(C) Nature press release.
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