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Biomed Pharmacother. 2001 May;55(4):201-5.

The neural stem cells and their transdifferentiation capacity.

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  • 1Stem Cell Research Institute, DIBIT H. San Raffaele, Milan, Italy. vescovi.angelo@hsr.it

Abstract

Stem cells play a critical role during embryo and tissue formation throughout development. Thanks to their multipotentiality - i.e., the ability to give rise to different lineages of mature cells - and to their extensive capacity for self-renewal and expansive growth, stem cells can also contribute to the maintenance of tissue integrity in adulthood. Historically, it has been held that fetal and adult (somatic) stem cells are tissue-specific 'entities' whose differentiation potential is limited to the generation of mature cell types of the tissue/organ in which they reside. Yet, recent years have seen the publication of an impressive sequence of reports dealing with what is now emerging as one of the most striking functional attributes of somatic stem cells, that is, their capacity to undergo transdifferentiation. Thanks to this peculiar characteristic adult stem cells display an unexpected ability to give rise to differentiated cells of tissues and organs different from those in which they reside. This commentary briefly illustrates the characteristics of the neural stem cell and its capacity as a neuroectodermal derivative to undergo transdifferentiation, thus giving rise to differentiated cells that normally originate from the mesoderm, like blood or skeletal muscle cells.

PMID:
11393806
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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