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Curr Opin Immunol. 2011 Aug;23(4):512-7. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2011.05.006. Epub 2011 Jun 12.

Aging of hematopoietic stem cells: Intrinsic changes or micro-environmental effects?

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Department of Hematology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.


During development hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) expand in number and persist throughout life by undergoing self-renewing divisions. Nevertheless, the hematopoietic system does not escape the negative effects of aging, suggesting that self-renewal is not complete. A fundamental issue in stem cell biology relates to such age-dependent loss of stem cell activity. Both stem cell intrinsic factors and extrinsic factors associated with an aging micro-environment could contribute to aging of the hematopoietic system. Recently, changes in the clonal composition of the HSC compartment during aging have been put forward as a key factor. Here, we discuss these recent developments and speculate how they may be of clinical relevance.

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