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Exp Gerontol. 1999 Apr;34(2):137-46.

Hematopoietic stem cells and aging.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


The question of whether hematopoietic stem cells are altered in aging has been the subject of considerable controversy for over two decades. The substantial advancement of knowledge on hematopoietic stem cells and developmental hematology in the last few years has reopened this issue for critical analysis. Dynamic changes have been noted regarding the anatomic site and the function of hematopoietic cells, from the early embryo to old age. Whereas basal hematopoietic potential is maintained in aging. the capacity for recovery from hematological stress and for stem cell self-renewal appears to decline gradually. A distinction is thus made between the steady-state hematopoiesis in aging and the developmental potential of stem cells. The establishment of proper tools to identify and to study purified stem cells and committed cell populations offers a direct approach to further elucidate aging across the axis from primitive stem cells to the mature blood cells. The present article represents a brief review of this area.

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