Dietary phytochemical approaches to stem cell regulation

Shuai Zhang, Kargo Kar Ho Lam, Jack Hei Wan, Chun Wang Yip, Harry Kwun Hung Liu, Queenie Ming Ngai Lau, Alice Hei Yi Man, Chun Hei Cheung, Lik Hang Wong, Hu Biao Chen, Jun Shi, George Par Heng Leung, Calvin Kai Fai Lee, Yi Gang Shi, Sydney Chi Wai Tang*, Kalin Yan Bo Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Controlling self-renewal and lineage differentiation of stem cells (SCs) is critical for SC therapy in regenerative medicine. Multiple signal pathways such as Wnt, TGF-β and BMP are involved in modulating proliferation or specific differentiation of different types of SCs. Dietary phytochemicals, the major source of new drugs, are found to stimulate self-renewal and sub-population differentiation of SCs by activating/inhibiting the signal pathways (MAPK, canonical Wnt/β-catenin, AKT, etc.) and key transcription factors (OCT4, NANOG, Runx2, etc.). Dietary phytochemicals are important for SC therapy owing to the plethora of targets. In this review, we discussed the SC types and their regulatory mechanism. Applications of phenols, flavonoids, sterols and alkaloids chemicals from food or herbs on targeting SCs along with their molecular mechanisms are also discussed. Dietary phytochemicals are promising to enhance endogenous/exogenous SC therapy in various diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103822
JournalJournal of Functional Foods
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

User-Defined Keywords

  • Differentiation
  • Phytochemical
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Self-renewal
  • Stem cell


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