Roles of reactive oxygen species in the fate of stem cells

Pooja Chaudhari, Zhaohui Ye, Yoon Young Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Significance: Stem cells are characterized by the properties of self-renewal and the ability to differentiate into multiple cell types, and thus maintain tissue homeostasis. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are a natural byproduct of aerobic metabolism and have roles in cell signaling. Regulation of ROS has a vital role in maintaining "stemness" and differentiation of the stem cells, as well as in progression of stem-cell-associated diseases. Recent Advances: As of late, much research has been done on the adverse effects of ROS in stem cells. However, recently it has become apparent that in some cases redox status of the stem cell does have a role in maintaining its identity as such. Both pluripotent and multipotent stem cell types have been reported to possess enzymatic and nonenzymatic mechanisms for detoxification of ROS and to correct oxidative damage to the genome as well as the proteome. Critical Issues: Although context dependent and somewhat varied among different stem cell types, the correlation seems to exist between antioxidant defense level and stem cell fate change (i.e., proliferation, differentiation, and death). Changes in stem cell redox regulation may affect the pathogenesis of various human diseases. Future Directions: Dissecting the defined roles of ROS in distinct stem cell types will greatly enhance their basic and translational applications. Here, we discuss the various roles of ROS in adult, embryonic, and induced pluripotent stem cells. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 1881-1890.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1881-1890
Number of pages10
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number12
StatePublished - Apr 20 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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