Aging of hematopoietic stem cells: Intrinsic changes or micro-environmental effects?

Curr Opin Immunol. 2011 Aug;23(4):512-7. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2011.05.006. Epub 2011 Jun 12.


During development hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) expand in number and persist throughout life by undergoing self-renewing divisions. Nevertheless, the hematopoietic system does not escape the negative effects of aging, suggesting that self-renewal is not complete. A fundamental issue in stem cell biology relates to such age-dependent loss of stem cell activity. Both stem cell intrinsic factors and extrinsic factors associated with an aging micro-environment could contribute to aging of the hematopoietic system. Recently, changes in the clonal composition of the HSC compartment during aging have been put forward as a key factor. Here, we discuss these recent developments and speculate how they may be of clinical relevance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Aging / blood
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow / growth & development
  • Cell Lineage
  • Clone Cells / cytology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Hematopoiesis / physiology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Hematopoietic System / cytology
  • Hematopoietic System / growth & development*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / epidemiology
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / pathology
  • Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Mice
  • Models, Immunological
  • Myeloid Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cell Niche / physiology*
  • Stromal Cells / physiology