Stem cells, phenotypic inversion, and differentiation

Int J Clin Exp Med. 2008;1(1):2-21. Epub 2008 Jan 20.


Stem cells possess the potential to cure a myriad of ailments ranging from congenital diseases to illnesses acquired through the physiological process of aging. In the adult, these cells are extremely rare and often difficult to isolate in numbers sufficient to apply to medical treatment. Ex vivo expansion of these cells will be required for most meaningful interventions. The discovery of stem/progenitor cell inversion offers a new avenue for obtaining sufficient numbers of stem cells. Adult progenitor cells are much more common than quiescent stem cells and can be isolated with minimal interventions; therefore, inversion of progenitors to stem cells may become a feasible approach for therapeutic purposes. Stem cells are known to possess few mitochondria, and mitochondrial biogenesis is required for stem cell differentiation. The microtubule cytoskeleton is a major regulator for mitochondrial biogenesis. Investigations in the area of controlling cell differentiation and inducing phenotypic inversion, possibly through manipulation of mitochondrial biogenesis, may contribute to stem cell-based therapies.

Keywords: Stem cells; differentiation; inversion; microtubules; mitochondria.