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Journal of Applied Genetics 48(4), 2007, pp. 307-319

Bone-marrow-derived stem cells - our key to longevity?

Mariusz Z. Ratajczak, Ewa K. Zuba-Surma, Boguslaw Machalinski, Magdalena Kucia


Abstract: Bone marrow (BM) was for many years primarily regarded as the source of hematopoietic stem cells. In this review we discuss current views of the BM stem cell compartment and present data showing that BM contains not only hematopoietic but also heterogeneous non-hematopoietic stem cells. It is likely that similar or overlapping populations of primitive non-hematopoietic stem cells in BM were detected by different investigators using different experimental strategies and hence were assigned different names (e.g., mesenchymal stem cells, multipotent adult progenitor cells, or marrow-isolated adult multilineage inducible cells). However, the search still continues for true pluripotent stem cells in adult BM, which would fulfill the required criteria (e.g. complementation of blastocyst development). Recently our group has identified in BM a population of very small embryonic-like stem cells (VSELs), which express several markers characteristic for pluripotent stem cells and are found during early embryogenesis in the epiblast of the cylinder-stage embryo.

Key words: CXCR4, embryonic stem cells, Nanog, Oct-4, SSEA, very small embryonic-like stem cells.

Correspondence: M.Z. Ratajczak, Hoenig Endowed Chair in Cancer Biology, Stem Cell Institute, University of Louisville, 500 South Floyd Street, Louisville, KY 40202, Kentucky, USA; e-mail: mzrata01@louisville.edu

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