Stem cells are highly proliferating cells that have the potential for differentiation leading to the development of specialized functional cell types. The process of stem cell differentiation requires an increase in the recruitment and population of the undifferentiated stem cells, which are then differentiated to specific functional cell types. Genetic/metabolic transformations in the cellular intermediary energy metabolism are required to provide the bioenergetic, synthetic, and catabolic requirements of the stem cells during this process. However, the identification of the intermediary energy metabolism pathways and their alterations during the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells remain largely unknown; mainly due to the lack of attention and/or required research that focuses on this relationship. In the absence of such information, a full understanding of the factors and conditions required to promote stem cell differentiation leading to development of normal functional metabolic specialized cells cannot be achieved. The purpose of this review is to provide the background and bring attention to the essential relationship of altered cellular intermediary metabolism in the context of the process of stem cell proliferation and differentiation. Citrate metabolism is central to the genetic and metabolic transformation leading to the development of the specialized functional cells. This review identifies the involvement of altered citrate metabolism and the associated genetic alterations of key pathways, enzymes, and transporters; as well as the bioenergetic implications. The importance is emphasized for identification and employment of required conditions to insure that the process of experimental stem cell differentiation results in the development of specialized cells that represent the functional metabolic characteristics and capabilities of their native specialized cells. This is an essential requirement for the successful application of stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine for many pathological conditions.
Keywords: Citrate metabolism, stem cells, differentiation and proliferation, osteogenesis, osteoblast and bone formation adipogenesis, krebs cycle, glycolysis