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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010 Oct;65(10):1042-50. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glq110. Epub 2010 Jun 30.

Aging is not associated with bone marrow-resident progenitor cell depletion.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27705, USA.


Changes in progenitor cell biology remain at the forefront of many theories of biologic aging, but there are limited studies evaluating this in humans. Aging has been associated with a progressive depletion of circulating progenitor cells, but age-related bone marrow-resident progenitor cell depletion has not been systematically determined in humans. Patients undergoing total hip replacement were consented, and bone marrow and peripheral progenitor cells were enumerated based on aldehyde dehydrogenase activity and CD34 and CD133 expression. Circulating progenitors demonstrated an age-dependent decline. In contrast, marrow-resident progenitor cell content demonstrated no age association with any progenitor cell subtype. In humans, aging is associated with depletion of circulating, but not marrow-resident, progenitors. This finding has impact on the mechanism(s) responsible for age-related changes in circulating stem cells and important implications for the use of autologous marrow for the treatment of age-related diseases.

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