Stem Cell Function Declines with Ageing

As extensive tissue replacement does not occur in adults of short-lived invertebrates, such model systems have to date been less useful in understanding the mechanisms of stem cell ageing. A notable exception in this regard, however, have been the elegant studies of germ line mortality genes by Ahmed and colleagues (see, for example, Ahmed and Hodgkin 2000, Meier et al. 2006), which have identified several pathways required for germ line stem cell longevity, including maintenance of telomerase. Nonetheless, the bulk of studies of the determinants of stem cell longevity have been carried out in rodents, with confirmatory analyses in humans where possible. Of these rodent studies, the majority in particular have focused on hematopoietic stem cells in mice, which are the most well-characterized tissue specific stem cells.

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