Adult stem cells replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues throughout our lifetime. We lose many of those stem cells, along with their regenerative capacity, as we age. Working in flies and mice, researchers at the Buck Institute and elsewhere discovered that TOR, a nutrient sensing pathway which is central to the aging process, drives the loss of adult stem cells. Treating mice with the TOR-inhibitor rapamycin prevented this loss and could reverse age-related loss of stem cells in mouse trachea. The research is published in Cell Stem Cell.
In most of our tissues, adult stem cells hang out in a quiet state – ready to be activated in case of infection or injury. In response to such injury, however, stem cells have to be able to rapidly divide, to generate daughter cells that differentiate into cells that repair the tissue. This division has to be “asymmetric”, meaning …
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