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Stem Cell Aging Due to DNA Damage, June 7, 2007

Observing bone-marrow-derived stem cells, separate groups of U.S. and British scientists have shown that premature aging is caused by DNA damage.

The practice of adult stem cell transplantations will be affected by the discovery.

Small pools of slowly dividing stem cells are something that long-lived multi-cellular organisms depend on to replenish lost tissue. With negligible mutations throughout life, it is imperative that the reserves are maintained and self-renewed.

Using a mouse strain that had trouble repairing DNA damage, Richard Cornall and colleagues at Oxford University studied the bone-marrow-derived stem cells taken from the mouse. The scientists determined that un-repaired DNA damage in stem cells can lead the way to an age-dependent decline in their numbers.

Determining that the blood-forming stem cells from the bone marrow of mice build up DNA damage with age was Stanford Universityís Derrick Rossi and his colleagues. Rossiís study was unrelated to that of Cornallís. The reduced capability of stem cells to yield new tissues and repair injury over time may be better understood now given the fact that similar conclusions were made from two different scientists.

The journal Nature has published both papers in their current issue.


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