Functional dysregulation of stem cells during aging: a focus on skeletal muscle stem cells

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Abstract

Aging of an organism is associated with the functional decline of tissues and organs, as well as a sharp decline in the regenerative capacity of stem cells. A prevailing view holds that the aging rate of an individual depends on the ratio of tissue attrition to tissue regeneration. Therefore, manipulations that favor the balance towards regeneration may prevent or delay aging. Skeletal muscle is a specialized tissue composed of postmitotic myofibers that contract to generate force. Satellite cells are the adult stem cells responsible for skeletal muscle regeneration. Recent studies on the biology of skeletal muscle and satellite cells in aging have uncovered the critical impact of systemic and niche factors on stem cell functionality and demonstrated the capacity of aged satellite cells to rejuvenate and increase their regenerative potential when exposed to a youthful environment. Here we review the current literature on the coordinated relationship between cell extrinsic and intrinsic factors that regulate the function of satellite cells, and ultimately determine tissue homeostasis and repair during aging, and which encourage the search for new anti-aging strategies.

Skeletal muscle relies on adult stem cells (satellite cells) to regenerate and this capacity declines with aging. Aged satellite cells improve their regenerative potential when exposed to a youthful environment. We review the literature on the coordinated relationship between extrinsic and intrinsic factors regulating satellite cells functions, which in turn determine tissue homeostasis and repair during aging.

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