Trends in cell biology vol:12 issue:11 pages:502-8
It has been known for decades that stem cells with limited differentiation potential are present in post-natal tissues of mammals, and adult stem cells are already used clinically. For instance, hematopoietic stem cells can reestablish the hematopoietic system following myeloablation, and stem cells are being used to regenerate corneal and skin tissue. But recent studies report that adult tissues might contain cells with pluripotent characteristics. These have evoked significant excitement, given the medical implications, but have also met with much skepticism. Indeed, most studies still await independent confirmation, there is a low frequency with which the apparent lineage switching occurs, and importantly such lineage switching defies established developmental biology and stem cell principles. Here, I critically review the published data indicating that postnatal stem cells persist that have greater differentiation potential than previously thought.