Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been poised at a straddled state of being beneficiary as well detrimental depending on its threshold levels. Maintaining the homeostasis of ROS is imperative for normal cellular physiology, wherein physiological concentrations of ROS are involved in cell signaling and elevated ROS contribute to the development of various diseases. Superoxide dismutases (SODs), enzymes involved in dismutation of superoxide anion to hydrogen peroxide, arrive as a first line of defense when there is perturbation in the homeostasis of ROS. As mitochondria are the main site of superoxide production, among SODs, mitochondrial manganese SOD (MnSOD) is the primary antioxidant enzyme that protects cells from ROS. Most importantly, knockout of MnSOD leads to postnatal lethality and tissue-specific conditional knockout in brain resulted in death of mice, conclusively portraying the essential role of MnSOD in development. Although MnSOD has been extensively discussed with the purview of tumor biology and aging, understanding the crucial role of MnSOD in stem cell physiology is still at its infant stage. Ever increasing progress in stem cell research has recently unveiled the essential role of MnSOD in self-renewal and differentiation of stem cells. In this review, we will conglomerate the current aspects by which MnSOD can contribute to embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells functions and interpret the necessity of understanding MnSOD for further stem cell mediated applications.
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