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Blood. 2007 Feb 15;109(4):1736-42. Epub 2006 Oct 10.

The impact of altered p53 dosage on hematopoietic stem cell dynamics during aging.

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Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, and Division of Experimental Hematology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, OH, USA.


A temporal decline in tissue stem cell functionality may be a key component of mammalian aging. The tumor suppressor p53 has recently been implicated as a potential regulator of aging. We examined age-associated hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) dynamics in mice with varying p53 activities. Reduced p53 activity in p53+/- mice was associated with higher numbers of proliferating hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in old age compared with aged wild-type (p53+/+) mice. We also assessed HSC dynamics in a p53 mutant mouse model (p53+/m) with higher apparent p53 activity than wild-type mice. The p53 hypermorphic (p53+/m) mice display phenotypes of premature aging. Many aged p53+/m organs exhibit reduced cellularity and atrophy, suggesting defects in stem-cell regenerative capacity. HSC numbers from old p53+/m mice fail to increase with age, unlike those of their p53+/+ and p53+/- counterparts. Moreover, transplantation of 500 HSCs from old p53+/m mice into lethally irradiated recipients resulted in reduced engraftment compared with old wild-type p53+/+ and p53+/- HSCs. Thus, alteration of p53 activity affects stem-cell numbers, proliferation potential, and hematopoiesis in older organisms, supporting a model in which aging is caused in part by a decline in tissue stem cell regenerative function.

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