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Histol Histopathol. 2004 Oct;19(4):1261-75. doi: 10.14670/HH-19.1261.

In vitro and in vivo characterization of neural stem cells.

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Departamento de Investigación, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain.


Neural stem cells are defined as clonogenic cells with self-renewal capacity and the ability to generate all neural lineages (multipotentiality). Cells with these characteristics have been isolated from the embryonic and adult central nervous system. Under specific conditions, these cells can differentiate into neurons, glia, and non-neural cell types, or proliferate in long-term cultures as cell clusters termed "neurospheres". These cultures represent a useful model for neurodevelopmental studies and a potential cell source for cell replacement therapy. Because no specific markers are available to unequivocally identify neural stem cells, their functional characteristics (self-renewal and multipotentiality) provide the main features for their identification. Here, we review the experimental and ultrastructural studies aimed at identifying the morphological characteristics and the antigenic markers of neural stem cells for their in vitro and in vivo identification.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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