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Semin Hematol. 2008 Oct;45(4):218-24. doi: 10.1053/j.seminhematol.2008.07.010.

Hematopoietic stem cells and the aging hematopoietic system.

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Immune Disease Institute, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.


The etiology of the age-associated pathophysiological changes of the hematopoietic system including the onset of anemia, diminished adaptive immune competence, and myelogenous disease development are underwritten by the loss of normal homeostatic control. As tissue and organ homeostasis in adults is primarily mediated by the activity of stem and progenitor cells, it has been suggested that the imbalances accompanying aging of the hematopoietic system may stem from alterations in the prevalence and/or functional capacity of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and progenitors. In this review, we examine evidence implicating a role for stem cells in the aging of the hematopoietic system, and focus on the mechanisms suggested to contribute to stem cell aging.

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