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Clonal hematopoiesis (CH) has emerged as an important factor linked to adverse health conditions in the elderly. CH is characterized by an overrepresentation of genetically distinct hematopoietic stem cell clones in the peripheral blood. Whereas the genetic mutations that underlie CH have been closely scrutinized, relatively little attention has been paid to the environmental factors that may influence the emergence of one dominant stem cell clone. As there is huge individual variation in latency between acquisition of a genetic mutation and emergence of CH, environmental factors likely play a major role. Indeed, environmental stressors such as inflammation, chemotherapy, and metabolic syndromes are known to affect steady-state hematopoiesis. To date, epidemiologic studies point toward smoking and prior chemotherapy exposure as likely contributors to some forms of CH, though the impact of other environmental factors is also being investigated. Mechanistic studies in murine models indicate that the role of different environmental factors in CH emergence may be highly specific to the mutation that marks each stem cell clone. For instance, recent studies have found that clones with mutations in the PPM1D gene are more resistant to genotoxic stress induced by chemotherapy. These clones thus have a competitive advantage in the setting of chemotherapy, but not in other types of stress. Here we review currently available literature on the interplay between environment and the genetic landscapes in CH and highlight critical areas for future study. Improved understanding of the effects of environmental stress on emergence of CH with mutation-specific clarity will guide future efforts to provide preventive medicine to individuals with CH. Copyright © 2019 ISEH -- Society for Hematology and Stem Cells. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Katherine Y King, Yun Huang, Daisuke Nakada, Margaret A Goodell. Environmental influences on clonal hematopoiesis. Experimental hematology. 2020 Mar;83:66-73

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PMID: 31893524

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