Human hematopoiesis: Aging and leukemogenic risk

Emmalee R. Adelman, Maria E. Figueroa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of review Our understanding of the effects of aging on human hematopoiesis has advanced significantly in recent years, yet the full ramifications of these findings are not fully understood. This review summarizes these findings and discusses their implication as they relate to malignant hematopoiesis. Recent findings With human aging there is an impaired immune response, loss of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) function, increase in clonal hematopoiesis, and higher frequency of myeloid malignancies. Although murine models have implicated abnormalities in DNA damage repair, autophagy, metabolism, and epigenetics, studies in primary human specimens are more limited. The development of age-related clonal hematopoiesis and the risk associated with this is one of the major findings in the field of recent years. This is accompanied by changes in bone marrow stem and progenitor composition, changes in the epigenetic program of stem cells and an inflammatory milieu in the bone marrow. The precise consequences of these changes for the development of age-related malignancies are still unclear. Summary Advances in the field have begun to reveal the mechanisms driving human HSC loss of function with age. It will be critical to delineate between normal and malignant aging in order to better prevent age-associated myeloid malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Hematology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Aging
  • Clonal hematopoiesis
  • Hematopoietic stem cells
  • Human hematopoiesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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