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Mesenchymal stem cells: A revolution in therapeutic strategies of age-related diseases

The great evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky once said: “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”. Aging is a complex biological phenomenon and the factors governing the process of aging and age-related diseases are only beginning to be understood, oxidative stress, telomere shortening in DNA components and genetic changes were shown to be the mainly regulating mechanisms during the recent decades. Although a considerable amount of both animal and clinical data that demonstrate the extensive and safe use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) is available, the precise summarization and identification of MSCs in age-related diseases remains a challenge. Along this line, this review discussed several typical age-related diseases for which MSCs have been proved to confer protection and put forward a hypothesis for the association among MSCs and age-related diseases from an evolutionary perspective. Above all, we hope further and more research efforts could be aroused to elucidate the role and mechanisms that MSCs involved in the age-related diseases.

URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S156816371200061X