, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 221–242 | Cite as

The potential of non-myeloablative heterochronous autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for extending a healthy life span

  • Primož Rožman
Review Article


Aging is a complex multifactorial process, a prominent component being the senescence of the immune system. Consequently, immune-related diseases develop, including atherosclerosis, cancer, and life-threatening infections, which impact on health and longevity. Rejuvenating the aged immune system could mitigate these diseases, thereby contributing to longevity and health. Currently, an appealing option for rejuvenating the immune system is heterochronous autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (haHSCT), where healthy autologous bone marrow/peripheral blood stem cells are collected during the youth of an individual, cryopreserved, and re-infused when he or she has reached an older age. After infusion, young hematopoietic stem cells can reconstitute the compromised immune system and improve immune function. Several studies using animal models have achieved substantial extension of the life span of animals treated with haHSCT. Therefore, haHSCT could be regarded as a potential procedure for preventing age-related immune defects and extending healthy longevity. In this review, the pros, cons, and future feasibility of this approach are discussed.


Immunosenescence Reconstitution Cryopreservation Immune-related diseases of old age Longevity 



I thank Daniel McCloskey and Zoran Ivanović for their critical reading of the manuscript and Thomas Bart for the illustration. The work was supported by the Slovenian Research Agency (Grant No. P3-0371).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

P.R. is a coinventor on a patent on method of providing cellular-based immune enhancement for restoring immunity and preventing age-related diseases (US9867853).


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© American Aging Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Blood Transfusion Centre of SloveniaLjubljanaSlovenia

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