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Cell Res. 2012 Feb;22(2):288-304. doi: 10.1038/cr.2012.11. Epub 2012 Jan 10.

Neural crest stem cells: discovery, properties and potential for therapy.

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Stowers Institute for Medical Research, 1000 East 50th Street Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.


Neural crest (NC) cells are a migratory cell population synonymous with vertebrate evolution. They generate a wide variety of cell and tissue types during embryonic and adult development including cartilage and bone, connective tissue, pigment and endocrine cells as well as neurons and glia amongst many others. Such incredible lineage potential combined with a limited capacity for self-renewal, which persists even into adult life, demonstrates that NC cells bear the key hallmarks of stem and progenitor cells. In this review, we describe the identification, characterization and isolation of NC stem and progenitor cells from different tissues in both embryo and adult organisms. We discuss their specific properties and their potential application in cell-based tissue and disease-specific repair.

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