London: Do you know that our body does have an expiry date set by our cells ability to decide? A blood analysis of the world's oldest woman may have revealed this secret.
Born in 1890, Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper died in 2005.
She reportedly enjoyed crystal clear cognition and a disease-free blood circulatory system till death.
Now, after inspecting her blood sample in great detail, Dutch scientists have discovered that once a stem cell has reached its cap, it can no longer replenish tissues.
"Is there a limit to the number of stem cell divisions, and does that imply that there is a limit to human life?" Henne Holstege of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam was quoted as saying in New Scientist.
According to researchers, van Andel-Schipper was down to just two stem cells at the time of her death- fueling two-thirds of her white blood cells.
Virtually every stem cell she began her long life with had burned out, said a report in huffingtonpost.com.
"The fact that van Andel-Schipper had whittled down her stem cells to just a pair over her long life suggests that mortality is capped," the report added.
It also suggests scientists may find ways to remove that cap.
The study was published in the journal Genome Research.