Adult tissue homoeostasis requires continual replacement of cells that are lost due to normal turnover, injury and disease. However, aging is associated with an overall decline in tissue function and homoeostasis, suggesting that the normal regulatory processes that govern self-renewal and regeneration may become impaired with age. Tissue-specific SCs (stem cells) lie at the apex of organismal conservation and regeneration, ultimately being responsible for continued tissue maintenance. In many tissues, there are changes in SC numbers, or alteration of their growth properties during aging, often involving imbalances in tumour-suppressor- and oncogene-mediated pathways. Uncovering the molecular mechanisms leading to changes in SC function during aging will provide an essential tool to address tissue-specific age-related pathologies. In the present review, we summarize the age-related alterations found in different tissue SC populations, highlighting recently identified changes in aged HFSCs (hair-follicle SCs) in the skin.

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