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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 Jan 12;363(1489):199-205.

Evaluation of neural plasticity in adult stem cells.

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  • 1Stem Cell Institute, Cell Biology and Development, University of Minnesota Medical School, MN 55455, USA.


The role of stem cells has long been known in reproductive organs and various tissues including the haematopoietic system and skin. During the last decade, stem cells have also been identified in other organs, including the nervous system, both during development and in post-natal life. More recently, evidence has been presented that stem cells thought to be responsible for the generation of mature differentiated cells of one organ, such as haematopoietic stem cells, may have the ability to also differentiate across lineages and contribute to tissues other than haematopoietic cells, including neuronal tissue, suggesting that easily accessible stem cells sources may one day be useful in the therapy of ischaemic (stroke) and also degenerative diseases of the nervous system. Here, we will evaluate the validity of such claims based on a number of criteria we believe need to be fulfilled to definitively conclude that certain stem cells can give rise to functional neural cells that might be suitable for therapy of neural disorders.

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