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Every human organ has its own capacity for self renewal due to progenitor cells of tissue reservoir. We can distinguish organs with 'high and low turnover' and for regenerative medicine the latter ones constitute the main target. These are represented by heart, central nervous system and pancreas. In this review, we focused on determination in situ of stem cell function in described organs and tissues. However, even in 'low turnover' systems the level of stem cell homing can be different. Surprisingly it is in favour of central nervous system. The remaining organs present low capacity for cell homing (instead of pancreas, where the ectopic sites can be used for insulin secretion and production) although the attempts to improve this critical issue are undergoing. Recent techniques of imaging as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) or PET (positron emission tomography) have ability to precisely locate the cells within target organ and evaluate their functional (metabolic) activities. Beside of their sophistication, these instruments are based on chemical compounds that have their own characteristics, shortcomings and pitfalls. All of these are exemplified in this review together with specific examples of pre-clinical studies upon which the present controversies are outlined.
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The Editorial Board
Andrzej Łukaszyk - przewodniczący, Zofia Bielańska-Osuchowska, Szczepan Biliński, Mieczysław Chorąży, Aleksander Koj, Włodzimierz Korochoda, Leszek Kuźnicki, Aleksandra Stojałowska, Lech Wojtczak

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