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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 105135, 14 pages
Review Article

Controlling Redox Status for Stem Cell Survival, Expansion, and Differentiation

1Hydrodynamics Laboratory, CNRS UMR 7646, Ecole Polytechnique, 91120 Palaiseau, France
2Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, Florida State University, 2525 Pottsdamer Street, Tallahassee, FL 32310, USA

Received 12 September 2014; Accepted 6 December 2014

Academic Editor: Tullia Maraldi

Copyright © 2015 Sébastien Sart et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have long been considered as pathological agents inducing apoptosis under adverse culture conditions. However, recent findings have challenged this dogma and physiological levels of ROS are now considered as secondary messengers, mediating numerous cellular functions in stem cells. Stem cells represent important tools for tissue engineering, drug screening, and disease modeling. However, the safe use of stem cells for clinical applications still requires culture improvements to obtain functional cells. With the examples of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), this review investigates the roles of ROS in the maintenance of self-renewal, proliferation, and differentiation of stem cells. In addition, this work highlights that the tight control of stem cell microenvironment, including cell organization, and metabolic and mechanical environments, may be an effective approach to regulate endogenous ROS generation. Taken together, this paper indicates the need for better quantification of ROS towards the accurate control of stem cell fate.