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Cells 2018, 7(12), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells7120237

Epigenetic Erosion in Adult Stem Cells: Drivers and Passengers of Aging

1
Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Center for Molecular Biomedicine (CMB), Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Hans-Knöll-Str. 2, 07745 Jena, Germany
2
Leibniz-Institute on Aging—Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI), Beutenbergstrasse 11, 07745 Jena, Germany
3
Innere Medizin 2, Hämatologie und Onkologie, Universitätsklinikum Jena, 07747 Jena, Germany
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 26 November 2018 / Published: 29 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetic Regulation of Stem Cells Ageing in Health and Disease)
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Abstract

In complex organisms, stem cells are key for tissue maintenance and regeneration. Adult stem cells replenish continuously dividing tissues of the epithelial and connective types, whereas in non-growing muscle and nervous tissues, they are mainly activated upon injury or stress. In addition to replacing deteriorated cells, adult stem cells have to prevent their exhaustion by self-renewal. There is mounting evidence that both differentiation and self-renewal are impaired upon aging, leading to tissue degeneration and functional decline. Understanding the molecular pathways that become deregulate in old stem cells is crucial to counteract aging-associated tissue impairment. In this review, we focus on the epigenetic mechanisms governing the transition between quiescent and active states, as well as the decision between self-renewal and differentiation in three different stem cell types, i.e., spermatogonial stem cells, hematopoietic stem cells, and muscle stem cells. We discuss the epigenetic events that channel stem cell fate decisions, how this epigenetic regulation is altered with age, and how this can lead to tissue dysfunction and disease. Finally, we provide short prospects of strategies to preserve stem cell function and thus promote healthy aging. View Full-Text
Keywords: adult stem cells; spermatogonial stem cells; hematopoietic stem cells; muscle stem cells; self-renewal; differentiation; epigenetic regulation; tissue maintenance; aging adult stem cells; spermatogonial stem cells; hematopoietic stem cells; muscle stem cells; self-renewal; differentiation; epigenetic regulation; tissue maintenance; aging
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Kosan, C.; Heidel, F.H.; Godmann, M.; Bierhoff, H. Epigenetic Erosion in Adult Stem Cells: Drivers and Passengers of Aging. Cells 2018, 7, 237.

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