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Stem Cells Dev. 2012 May 1;21(7):1090-6. doi: 10.1089/scd.2011.0130. Epub 2011 Sep 7.

The number of stem cells in the subependymal zone of the adult rodent brain is correlated with the number of ependymal cells and not with the volume of the niche.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Medicine, and MRC Cambridge Centre for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom. ik255@cam


The mammalian subependymal zone (SEZ; often called subventricular) situated at the lateral walls of the lateral ventricles of the brain contains a pool of relatively quiescent adult neural stem cells whose neurogenic activity persists throughout life. These stem cells are positioned in close proximity both to the ependymal cells that provide the cerebrospinal fluid interface and to the blood vessel endothelial cells, but the relative contribution of these 2 cell types to stem cell regulation remains undetermined. Here, we address this question by analyzing a naturally occurring example of volumetric scaling of the SEZ in a comparison of the mouse SEZ with the larger rat SEZ. Our analysis reveals that the number of stem cells in the SEZ niche is correlated with the number of ependymal cells rather than with the volume, thereby indicating the importance of ependymal-derived factors in the formation and function of the SEZ. The elucidation of the factors generated by ependymal cells that regulate stem cell numbers within the SEZ is, therefore, of importance for stem cell biology and regenerative neuroscience.

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