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Genetics. 2008 Dec;180(4):1787-97. doi: 10.1534/genetics.108.098244.

Stem cells, their niches and the systemic environment: an aging network.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.


Stem cells have a fascinating biology and offer great prospects for therapeutic applications, stimulating intense research on what controls their properties and behavior. Although there have been significant advances in our understanding of how local microenvironments, or niches, control the maintenance and activity of stem cells, it is much less well understood how stem cells sense and respond to variable external, physiological, or tissue environments. This review focuses on the multidirectional interactions among stem cells, niches, tissues, and the systemic environment and on potential ideas for how changes in this network of communication may relate to the aging process.

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