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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2002 Dec;14(6):749-55.

Plasticity revisited.

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  • 1Section of Gene Function and Regulation, Institute of Cancer Research, Chester Beatty Laboratories, 237 Fulham Road, SW3 6JB, London, UK.


Despite some recent setbacks, it remains clear that adult stem cells under appropriate experimental conditions can at some frequency exhibit a wider range of differentiation potentials than previously appreciated. This is underscored by the recent demonstration of the extensive differentiation potential of mesenchymal stem cells. In terms of mechanism, it remains unclear in many cases to what extent plasticity reflects in vitro adaptation, transdifferentiation/cell-type switching or the persistence in adult tissues of stem cells with extensive endogenous or bona fide developmental potentials. These issues will need to be resolved before the full therapeutic potential of adult-derived stem cells can be realised.

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