Indexed on: 26 Oct '10Published on: 26 Oct '10Published in: Experimental Gerontology
Throughout life, adult stem cells play essential roles in maintaining tissue and organ function by providing a reservoir of cells for homeostasis and regeneration. A decline in stem cell number or activity may, therefore, lead to compromised organ and tissue function that is characteristic of aging. Drosophila has emerged as an ideal system for studying the relationship between stem cells and aging, as it has a short lifespan, tissues that are maintained by adult stem cells, and conserved pathways known to regulate aging. In this review, we highlight recent findings describing intrinsic and extrinsic age-related changes that affect the behavior of Drosophila germline and intestinal stem cells. We also discuss whether pathways affecting lifespan can act autonomously or non-autonomously in stem cells during aging.