Preserving Stem Cells while Aging?

By Akari Miki

As people age, the function of their skeletal muscle declines, and this decline may be due to the reductions in the activity and number of stem cells over time. As a step toward a deeper understanding of the mechanism, researchers at Karolinska Instituet in Sweden examined mutations in the stem cells of the skeletal muscles using whole genome sequencing. As stem cells divide, their mutations accumulate and diminish the function of the skeletal muscles. Regions that are crucial for the function and survival of the cells have the greatest protection against mutations. The researchers found that this protection against mutations declines with age, and this finding could pave the way for novel treatments that preserve movement in the skeleton muscles. One promising treatment is a drug that restores the DNA repair system in the cells. As the next step, the researchers are currently investigating whether physical exercise could eliminate the growth of stem cells with mutations in the skeletal muscle. This growing area of research on the impact of stem cells on aging could help people remain physically active as they become older.


Karolinska Institutet. (2018, February 23). Stem cell study may result in stronger muscles in old age. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2018 from