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Aging (Albany NY). 2012 Feb;4(2):78-88.

Genome integrity, stem cells and hyaluronan.

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Brander Cancer Research Institute & Department of Pathology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY 10595, USA.


Faithful preservation of genome integrity is the critical mission of stem cells as well as of germ cells. Reviewed are the following mechanisms involved in protecting DNA in these cells: (a) The efflux machinery that can pump out variety of genotoxins in ATP-dependent manner; (b) the mechanisms maintaining minimal metabolic activity which reduces generation of reactive oxidants, by-products of aerobic respiration; (c) the role of hypoxic niche of stem cells providing a gradient of variable oxygen tension; (d)(e) the presence of hyaluronan (HA) and HA receptors on stem cells and in the niche; (f) the role of role of HA in protecting DNA from oxidative damage; (g) the specific role of HA that may play a role protecting DNA in stem cells; (h) the interactions of HA with sperm cells and oocytes that also may shield their DNA from oxidative damage, and (e) mechanisms by which HA exerts the anti-oxidant activity. While HA has multitude of functions its anti-oxidant capabilities are often overlooked but may be of significance in preservation of integrity of stem and germ cells genome.

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