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Blood. 1999 May 15;93(10):3294-301.

Dynamic changes in mouse hematopoietic stem cell numbers during aging.

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Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Kentucky, Markey Cancer Center, Lexington, KY, USA.


To address the fundamental question of whether or not stem cell populations age, we performed quantitative measurements of the cycling status and frequency of hematopoietic stem cells in long-lived C57BL/6 (B6) and short-lived DBA/2 (DBA) mice at different developmental and aging stages. The frequency of cobblestone area-forming cells (CAFC) day-35 in DBA fetal liver was twofold to threefold higher than in B6 mice, and by late gestation, the total stem cell number was nearly as large as that of young DBA adults. Following a further approximately 50% increase in stem cells between 6 weeks and 1 year of age, numbers in old DBA mice dropped precipitously between 12 and 20 months of age. In marked contrast, this stem cell population in B6 mice increased at a constant rate from late gestation to 20 months of age with no signs of abatement. Throughout development an inverse correlation was observed between stem cell numbers and the percentage of cells in S-phase. Because a strong genetic component contributed to the changes in stem cell numbers during aging, we quantified stem cells of 20-month old BXD recombinant inbred (RI) mice, derived from B6 and DBA progenitor strains, thus permitting detailed interstrain genetic analysis. For each BXD strain we calculated the stem cell increase or decrease as mice aged from 2 to 20 months. Net changes in CAFC-day 35 numbers among BXD strains ranged from an approximately 10-fold decrease to an approximately 10-fold increase. A genome-wide search for loci associated with this quantitative trait was performed. Several loci contribute to the trait-putative loci map to chromosomes X, 2, and 14. We conclude that stem cell numbers fluctuate widely during aging and that this has a strong genetic basis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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