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Secret to Longevity in Stem Cells

Posted on Feb. 24, 2016, 6 a.m. in Longevity Stem Cell Women's Health

Of today’s 53 living supercentenarians (age 110 and over), 51 are female.

There currently are 53 supercentenarians – people age 110 years and over, alive today; and 51 of them are female.   Ben Dulken, from Stanford University (California, USA), and colleagues explored the potential underlying reasons why no other demographic factor comes remotely close to sex in predicting the likelihood of achieving such an advanced age.  With consideration for current knowledge about stem cell behavior and sex, the researchers submit that there are key differences in regenerative decline between men and women: particularly involving the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone in modifying lifespan.  Previous studies report that estrogen has direct effects on stem cell populations in female mice, from increasing the number of blood stem cells to enhancing the regenerative capacity of brain stem cells.  Further, other recent studies suggest that estrogen supplementation may increase the lifespan of male mice. Observing that:  “Longevity differs between sexes, with females being longer-lived in most mammals, including humans. One hallmark of aging is the functional decline of stem cells,” the authors consider that:  “a key question is whether the aging of stem cells differs between males and females and whether this has consequences for disease and lifespan.”

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Ben Dulken, Anne Brunet.  “tem Cell Aging and Sex: Are We Missing Something?”  Cell Stem Cell, Vol. 16, Issue 6, p588–590.

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