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Metabolic Regulation and Related Molecular Mechanisms in Various Stem Cell Functions

[ Vol. 15 , Issue. 6 ]


Hwa-Yong Lee and In-Sun Hong*   Pages 531 - 546 ( 16 )


Recent studies on the mechanisms that link metabolic changes with stem cell fate have deepened our understanding of how specific metabolic pathways can regulate various stem cell functions during the development of an organism. Although it was originally thought to be merely a consequence of the specific cell state, metabolism is currently known to play a critical role in regulating the self-renewal capacity, differentiation potential, and quiescence of stem cells. Many studies in recent years have revealed that metabolic pathways regulate various stem cell behaviors (e.g., selfrenewal, migration, and differentiation) by modulating energy production through glycolysis or oxidative phosphorylation and by regulating the generation of metabolites, which can modulate multiple signaling pathways. Therefore, a more comprehensive understanding of stem cell metabolism could allow us to establish optimal culture conditions and differentiation methods that would increase stem cell expansion and function for cell-based therapies. However, little is known about how metabolic pathways regulate various stem cell functions. In this context, we review the current advances in metabolic research that have revealed functional roles for mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, anaerobic glycolysis, and oxidative stress during the self-renewal, differentiation and aging of various adult stem cell types. These approaches could provide novel strategies for the development of metabolic or pharmacological therapies to promote the regenerative potential of stem cells and subsequently promote their therapeutic utility.


Stem cells, metabolism, quiescence, aging, pluripotency, differentiation, self-renewal.


Department of Biomedical Science, Jungwon University, 85 Goesan-eup, Munmu-ro, Goesan-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do 367-700, Department of Health Sciences and Technology, GAIHST, Gachon University, Incheon 21999

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