Melbourne Functional Medicine logo

Vitamin A regulates lineage plasticity to guide stem cell differentiation choices

Apr 23, 2024

Vitamin A, via its metabolite all-trans retinoic acid (atRA), controls stem cell differentiation by resolving lineage plasticity. This process is essential for proper tissue repair and maintaining correct cell lineages in the skin, including hair follicles and epidermal cells. These insights have potential applications in ageing and regenerative medicine.

March 2024 – Science


Key takeaways


  • Vitamin A metabolism modulates stem cell function: Vitamin A, converted into all-trans retinoic acid (atRA) in the body, plays a crucial role in steering stem cell activities. This modulation is essential for maintaining the balance and functionality of tissues, making it a key factor in tissue health and regeneration
  • Resolution of lineage plasticity enhances tissue repair: By resolving lineage plasticity, atRA ensures that stem cells can commit to specific developmental paths necessary for proper tissue function. This resolution allows for precise and effective repair mechanisms in skin tissues, promoting optimal healing and restoration of skin integrity, particularly in the hair follicles and epidermal layers
  • Potential for anti-ageing therapies: The control of stem cell behaviour by vitamin A highlights its potential in developing anti-ageing therapies. By influencing how stem cells differentiate and contribute to tissue maintenance, vitamin A could help mitigate the effects of ageing on the body, preserving tissue function and promoting healthier, longer life


The insights into how vitamin A influences stem cell dynamics highlight significant opportunities in regenerative medicine. These findings pave the way for new therapeutic strategies that could enhance the body’s natural repair processes, offering innovative treatments for age-related diseases, chronic wounds, and other conditions where tissue regeneration is compromised.


Read the article at: Tierney, Matthew T., et al. “Vitamin A Resolves Lineage Plasticity to Orchestrate Stem Cell Lineage Choices.Science, vol. 383, no. eadi7342, 2024, DOI: 10.1126/science.eadi7342.