Stem cell aging is a complex business with many potential contributing causes that vary in importance between tissues and stem cell populations. Not all of those populations are even well studied enough to know how the mechanisms of stem cell aging compare in importance. The better known collections of mechanisms are (a) intrinsic damage to the stem cells, such as stochastic mutation to nuclear DNA, that reduces their function or ability to maintain their numbers, (b) a changing balance of signals in the cellular environment, perhaps due to cellular dysfunction in the stem cell niche, or due to chronic inflammation, that causes a reduction in stem cell activity.
The open access paper I’ll point out today examines a mechanism that falls into the first of those categories, but one not often examined in this context of stem cell aging. The researchers propose that stem cell motility is systematically impacted with age, meaning that the stem cells are less able to move to where they are needed. This is most likely functionally equivalent to the loss of activity that arises in other ways, but the intermediary mechanisms connecting the root causes of aging