Mammalian organs comprise an extraordinary diversity of cell and tissue types. Regenerative organs, such as the skin and gastrointestinal tract, use resident stem cells to maintain tissue function. Organs with a lower cellular turnover, such as the liver and lungs, mostly rely on proliferation of committed progenitor cells. In many organs, injury reveals the plasticity of both resident stem cells and differentiated cells. The ability of resident cells to maintain and repair organs diminishes with age, whereas, paradoxically, the risk of cancer increases. New therapeutic approaches aim to harness cell plasticity for tissue repair and regeneration while avoiding the risk of malignant transformation of cells.
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F.M.W. acknowledges funding from the Wellcome Trust (206439/Z/17/Z), Medical Research Council (MR/PO18823/1), Cancer Research UK (C219/A23522) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/M007219/1). J.M.W. is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health R01DK092456, U19AI116491, P01HD093363 and U01DK103117. We thank C. Mooney for help with the Figures.
Nature thanks C. Lengner and J. Rajagopal for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
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Wells, J.M., Watt, F.M. Diverse mechanisms for endogenous regeneration and repair in mammalian organs. Nature 557, 322–328 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0073-7
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