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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Apr;1100:333-44.

A dual role of p21 in stem cell aging.

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1
Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Endocrinology, Medical School Hannover, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany.

Abstract

A decline in adult stem cell function occurs during aging, likely contributing to the decline in organ homeostasis and regeneration with age. An emerging field in aging research is to analyze molecular pathways limiting adult stem cell function in response to macromolecular damage accumulation during aging. Current data suggest that the p21 cell cycle inhibitor has a dual role in stem cell aging: On one hand, p21 protects adult stem cells from acute genotoxic stress by preventing inappropriate cycling of acutely damaged stem cells. On the other hand, p21 activation impairs stem cell function and survival of aging telomere dysfunctional mice indicating that p21 checkpoint function is disadvantageous in the context of chronic and persistent damage, which accumulates during aging. This article focuses on these dual roles of p21 in aging stem cells.

PMID:
17460196
DOI:
10.1196/annals.1395.036
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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