Adult stem cell maintenance and tissue regeneration in the ageing context: the role for A-type lamins as intrinsic modulators of ageing in adult stem cells and their niches

J Anat. 2008 Jul;213(1):5-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2008.00928.x.


Adult stem cells have been identified in most mammalian tissues of the adult body and are known to support the continuous repair and regeneration of tissues. A generalized decline in tissue regenerative responses associated with age is believed to result from a depletion and/or a loss of function of adult stem cells, which itself may be a driving cause of many age-related disease pathologies. Here we review the striking similarities between tissue phenotypes seen in many degenerative conditions associated with old age and those reported in age-related nuclear envelope disorders caused by mutations in the LMNA gene. The concept is beginning to emerge that nuclear filament proteins, A-type lamins, may act as signalling receptors in the nucleus required for receiving and/or transducing upstream cytosolic signals in a number of pathways central to adult stem cell maintenance as well as adaptive responses to stress. We propose that during ageing and in diseases caused by lamin A mutations, dysfunction of the A-type lamin stress-resistant signalling network in adult stem cells, their progenitors and/or stem cell niches leads to a loss of protection against growth-related stress. This in turn triggers an inappropriate activation or a complete failure of self-renewal pathways with the consequent initiation of stress-induced senescence. As such, A-type lamins should be regarded as intrinsic modulators of ageing within adult stem cells and their niches that are essential for survival to old age.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adult Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Aged
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Lamin Type A / physiology*
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Lamin Type A