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Nature. 2002 May 2;417(6884):39-44.

Astroglia induce neurogenesis from adult neural stem cells.

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Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the Salk Institute, 10010 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


During an investigation of the mechanisms through which the local environment controls the fate specification of adult neural stem cells, we discovered that adult astrocytes from hippocampus are capable of regulating neurogenesis by instructing the stem cells to adopt a neuronal fate. This role in fate specification was unexpected because, during development, neurons are generated before most of the astrocytes. Our findings, together with recent reports that astrocytes regulate synapse formation and synaptic transmission, reinforce the emerging view that astrocytes have an active regulatory role--rather than merely supportive roles traditionally assigned to them--in the mature central nervous system.

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