Aging: A cell source limiting factor in tissue engineering

World J Stem Cells. 2019 Oct 26;11(10):787-802. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v11.i10.787.


Tissue engineering has yet to reach its ideal goal, i.e. creating profitable off-the-shelf tissues and organs, designing scaffolds and three-dimensional tissue architectures that can maintain the blood supply, proper biomaterial selection, and identifying the most efficient cell source for use in cell therapy and tissue engineering. These are still the major challenges in this field. Regarding the identification of the most appropriate cell source, aging as a factor that affects both somatic and stem cells and limits their function and applications is a preventable and, at least to some extents, a reversible phenomenon. Here, we reviewed different stem cell types, namely embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, and genetically modified stem cells, as well as their sources, i.e. autologous, allogeneic, and xenogeneic sources. Afterward, we approached aging by discussing the functional decline of aged stem cells and different intrinsic and extrinsic factors that are involved in stem cell aging including replicative senescence and Hayflick limit, autophagy, epigenetic changes, miRNAs, mTOR and AMPK pathways, and the role of mitochondria in stem cell senescence. Finally, various interventions for rejuvenation and geroprotection of stem cells are discussed. These interventions can be applied in cell therapy and tissue engineering methods to conquer aging as a limiting factor, both in original cell source and in the in vitro proliferated cells.

Keywords: Aging; Geroprotection; Rejuvenation; Senescence; Stem cell therapy; Tissue engineering.

Publication types

  • Review