Stem Cells Heterogeneity

  • Alexander BirbrairEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1123)


Adult endogenous stem cells are crucial to maintain organ homeostasis due to their particular capacity to originate more specialized cell populations in a coordinated manner based on the body necessity. Extensive studies in a variety of tissues have highlighted the importance of stem cells for the functioning of our organism, including the skin, intestine, stomach, skeletal muscle, bone marrow, and others. Although significant progress has been made in our understanding of stem cell biology, our knowledge about these cells still remains limited due to their complexity and their dynamics. The advancement of our knowledge on these essential cells will have substantial implications in our understanding of tissue homeostasis and disease. Importantly, not all stem cells are alike even within the same tissue. They differ in their cell cycle status, surface marker expression, response to various extrinsic molecules, and distinct lineage outputs after transplant. The expanding literature which backs heterogeneity within stem cells is presently of great interest and brings questions as how stem cell subpopulations are generated, why they exist, and whether stem cells heterogeneity influences disease progression or therapy options. In more recent years, the combination of fluorescent and confocal microscopy with genetic state-of-art techniques, such as fate lineage tracking and single-cell RNA sequencing, enabled remarkable advance in the discovery of multiple novel essential functions for stem cell subpopulations in health and disease, before unexpected. This book provides an overview on our knowledge of stem cell subtypes in different organs under physiological and pathological conditions and discusses the possible origins and consequences of stem cells heterogeneity. This book’s initial title was Stem Cells Heterogeneity. However, due to the current great interest in this topic, we were able to assemble more chapters than would fit in one book, covering stem cell biology under distinct circumstances. Therefore, the book was subdivided into three volumes entitled: Stem Cells Heterogeneity—Novel Concepts, Stem Cells Heterogeneity in Different Organs, and Stem Cells Heterogeneity in Cancer. Here, we offer a selected compilation of comprehensive chapters on what we know so far about heterogeneity within stem cells. More than 30 chapters written by scientists in the field outline our present knowledge on stem cells heterogeneity.


Stem cells Heterogeneity Plasticity Regeneration Microenvironment Niche 



Alexander Birbrair is supported by a grant from Instituto Serrapilheira/Serra-1708-15285, a grant from Pró-reitoria de Pesquisa/Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (PRPq/UFMG) (Edital 05/2016), a grant from CNPq (Call MCTIC/CNPq Nº 28/2018 - Universal), a grant from the National Institute of Science and Technology in Theranostics and Nanobiotechnology (CNPq/CAPES/FAPEMIG, Process No. 465669/2014-0), a grant from FAPEMIG [Rede Mineira de Engenharia de Tecidos e Terapia Celular (REMETTEC, RED-00570-16)], and a grant from FAPEMIG [Rede De Pesquisa Em Doenças Infecciosas Humanas E Animais Do Estado De Minas Gerais (RED-00313-16)]; Akiva Mintz is supported by the National Institute of Health (1R01CA179072-01A1) and by the American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholar Grant (124443-MRSG-13-121-01-CDD).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyFederal University of Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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