Researchers find a way to delay aging of stem cells
Salk scientists say their findings may lead to strategies to treat age-related diseases and improve regenerative medicine.
LA JOLLA, CA—Stem cells are essential building blocks for all organisms, from plants to humans. They can divide and renew themselves throughout life, differentiating into the specialized tissues needed during development, as well as cells necessary to repair adult tissue.
Therefore, they can be considered immortal, in that they recreate themselves and regenerate tissues throughout a person's lifetime, but that doesn't mean they don't age. They do, gradually losing their ability to effectively maintain tissues and organs.
Now, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have uncovered a series of biological events that implicate the stem cells' surroundings, known as their "niche," as the culprit in loss of stem cells due to aging. Their findings, published May 23rd in Nature, have implications for treatment of age-related diseases and for the effectiveness of regenerative medicine.