Adult stem cell plasticity: fact or artifact?

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2003;19:1-22. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.19.111301.143037.


There has been unprecedented recent interest in stem cells, mainly because of the hope they offer for cell therapy. Adult stem cells are an attractive source of cells for therapy, especially in view of the recent claims that they are remarkably plastic in their developmental potential when exposed to new environments. Some of these claims have been either difficult to reproduce or shown to be misinterpretations, leaving the phenomenon of adult stem cell plasticity under a cloud. There are, however, other examples of plasticity where differentiated cells or their precursors can be reprogrammed by extracellular cues to alter their character in ways that could have important implications for cell therapy and other forms of regenerative treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Lineage / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Phenotype
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / trends*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / physiology*