In the recent years adult neural and mesenchymal stem cells have been intensively investigated as effective resources for repair therapies. In vivo and in vitro studies have provided insights on the molecular mechanisms underlying the neurogenic and osteogenic processes in adulthood. This knowledge appears fundamental for the development of targeted strategies to manipulate stem cells. Here we review recent literature dealing with the effects of electromagnetic fields on stem cell biology that lends support to their use as a promising tool to positively influence the different steps of neurogenic and osteogenic processes. We will focus on recent studies revealing that extremely-low frequency electromagnetic fields enhance adult hippocampal neurogenesis by inducing epigenetic modifications on the regulatory sequences of genes responsible for neural stem cell proliferation and neuronal differentiation. In light of the emerging critical role played by chromatin modifications in maintaining the stemness as well as in regulating stem cell differentiation, we will also attempt to exploit epigenetic changes that can represent common targets for electromagnetic field effects on neurogenic and osteogenic processes.
- extremely-low frequency electromagnetic fields
- gene expression programs
- mesenchymal stem cells
- neural stem cells