Stem cell plasticity: Time for a reappraisal?

Roberto M. Lemoli, Francesco Bertolini, Ranieri Cancedda, Michele De Luca, Antonio Del Santo, Giuliana Ferrari, Sergio Ferrari, Gianvito Martino, Fulvio Mavilio, Sante Tura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years an increasing number of publications have claimed that adult mammalian stem cells (SC) may be capable of differentiating across tissue lineage boundaries and that this plasticity may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for tissue regeneration. However, after a first phase of excitement, the issue of somatic SC plasticity remains controversial and the therapeutic perspectives are still elusive. In this review, we examine the general mechanisms which govern the function of SC, the identification and functional characterization of adult SC of different tissues and their putative capacity to transdifferentiate into mature cells of different origin. The potential clinical applications of adult SC for regenerative medicine are also discussed in each chapter. The method employed for preparing this review was the informal consensus development. Members of the Working Group on SC met four times and discussed the single points, previously assigned by the Chairman (S.T.), in order to achieve an agreement on different opinions and approve the final manuscript. All the authors of the present review have been working in the field of SC and have contributed original papers to peer-reviewed journals. In addition to the authors' own work, the present review examines articles published in journals covered by the Science Citation Index and Medline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-381
Number of pages22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


  • Adult stem cells
  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Stem cell plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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