The following is an edited excerpt.
When infections occur in the body, stem cells in the blood often jump into action by multiplying and differentiating into mature immune cells that can fight off illness. But repeated infections and inflammation can deplete these cell populations, potentially leading to the development of serious blood conditions such as cancer.
Now, a team of researchers led by biologists at the California Institute of Technology has found that, in mouse models that are bred to lack a specific gene, a specific molecule of microRNA acts as a critical regulator and protector of blood-forming stem cells during chronic inflammation. A deficiency of this microRNA may be one important cause of blood cancers and bone marrow failure in humans.
Read the full story here: Keeping stem cells strong: Biologists show that an RNA molecule protects stem cells during inflammatio