Sirtuin 1, stem cells, aging, and stem cell aging

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Purpose of reviewNew discoveries focused on mitochondrial metabolism and gene silencing and their regulation by the sirtuin family of protein deacetylases is stimulating new ideas on how to improve geriatric medicine. Information about sertuins in stem cell biology is scarce. We consider recent information on sirtuin 1, its role in aging and metabolism in several species and tissues, and attempt to anticipate how it might influence stem cell aging.Recent findingsCalorie restriction lengthens lifespan, in part, due to mitochondrial metabolism reorganization through sirtuin 1/peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma-coactivator-1α-regulated mitochondrial biogenesis. This reduces radical oxygen species levels that cause macromolecule damage, a major contributor to aging. Little is known about these processes in stem cells, whose longevity is implicated in human aging. Recent work indicates that sirtuin 1 influences growth-factor responses and maintenance of stem cells. Sirtuin 1 is required for calorie restriction-induced lifespan extension in mice, and calorie restriction upregulates sirtuin 1 in humans. Sirtuin 1 also appears to influence lineage/cell-fate decisions of stem cells via redox status.SummaryThe same thermodynamic and biochemical mechanisms linked to aging in somatic cells may also work in stem cells. Developments in mitochondrial biology and new drug development based on this knowledge are finding their way into the clinic (i.e. diabetes) and may illuminate new ways of manipulating and using stem cells in medicine.

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