Aging-related degeneration caused by defects of energy metabolism in tissue stem cells?

Jan 03, 2012

Aging-related tissue degeneration can be caused by mitochondrial dysfunction in tissue stem cells. The research group of Professor Anu Suomalainen Wartiovaara in Helsinki University, with their collaborators in Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging, Karolinska Institutet and University of Wisconsin reported on the 3rd January in Cell Metabolism their results on mechanisms of aging-associated degeneration.

Stem cells are called the spare parts for tissues, as they maintain and repair tissues during life. They are multipotent and can produce a variety of different cell types, from to neurons and . Mitochondria are the cellular engine: they transform the energy of nutrients to a form that cells can use, and in this process they burn most of the inhaled oxygen. If this nutrient 'burning' is inefficient, the engine will produce exhaust fumes, , which damage cellular structures, including the genome. Antioxidants target to scavenge these radicals.

Already in 2004 and 2005 a research model was created in Sweden and USA, which accumulated a heavy load of mitochondrial genome defects. This led to symptoms of premature aging: thin skin, graying of hair, baldness, osteoporosis and anemia.

In the current publication, scientist Kati Ahlqvist in Professor Suomalainen Wartiovaara's group showed that these symptoms were partially explained by stem cell dysfunction. The number of did not reduce, but their function was modified: the progeny cells in blood and the nervous system were dysfunctional. The researchers also found out that these defects could be partially prevented by early antioxidant treatment.

"This suggests that oxygen radicals can regulate stem cell function and that these cells are very susceptible for mitochondrial dysfunction. These findings may also be important to understand mechanisms of mitochondrial disease", Professor Suomalainen Wartiovaara says.

The results are a breakthrough in revealing the unexpected importance of energy metabolism in regulating stem cell function and tissue maintenance. These findings increase the understanding of mechanisms of aging-related degeneration.

Explore further: Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

Provided by University of Helsinki

5 /5 (3 votes)

Related Stories

Scientists turn back the clock on adult stem cells aging

Sep 20, 2011

Researchers have shown they can reverse the aging process for human adult stem cells, which are responsible for helping old or damaged tissues regenerate. The findings could lead to medical treatments that may repair a host ...

New properties of skin stem cells

Oct 14, 2008

Recent research from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet reveals completely new properties of the skin's stem cells – discoveries that contradict previous findings. The studies, which are published in Nature Ge ...

Recommended for you

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

18 hours ago

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

21 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key

Apr 17, 2014

Fruit flies are pretty predictable when it comes to scheduling their days, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk and rest times in between. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on April 17th h ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.