Purpose: New developments in knowledge of radiation effects on tissue stem cells were discussed in a Workshop held at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) in Hiroshima, Japan, 1819 January 2012. Results: Stem cells and their niche in intestinal mucosa, haemopoietic tissue, hair follicles, and spermatogenesis were discussed variously with regard to radiosensitivity, repair, regeneration, age-dependency of effects, genetic effects, and protection aspects. These tissues all possess a common basic template, but there are structural and hierarchical differences between tissues which continue to be elucidated in terms of a stem-cell age structure and niche regulatory signals which together govern radiation responses. Conclusions: Stem cells and their niche have become much better characterized in recent years, and their radiation response can be elucidated in detail in experimental systems to help underpin both protection and therapeutic recommendations established from human epidemiological evidence. This report summarizes the presentations at the meeting, and concludes with some remaining questions which may be answered with the help of this type of research.
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