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Stem Cells. 2012 Dec;30(12):2796-809. doi: 10.1002/stem.1243.

Symmetric expansion of neural stem cells from the adult olfactory bulb is driven by astrocytes via WNT7A.

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Unidad de Neurobiología Molecular, Área de Biología Celular y Desarrollo, CNM, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Majadahonda, Spain.


Adult neural stem cells (NSCs) located in the subventricular zone (SVZ) persistently produce new neurons destined to the olfactory bulb (OB). Recent research suggests that the OB is also a source of NSCs that remains largely unexplored. Using single/dual-labeling procedures, we address the existence of NSCs in the innermost layers of the OB. In vivo, these cells are more quiescent that their SVZ counterparts, but after in vitro expansion, they behave similarly. Self-renewal and proliferation assays in co-culture with niche astrocytes indicate that OB-glia restricts NSC activity whereas SVZ-glia has the opposite effect. Gene expression profiling identifies WNT7A as a key SVZ-glial factor lacking in OB-glia that enhances self-renewal, thereby improving the propagation of OB-NSC cultures. These data demonstrate that region-specific glial factors account for in vivo differences in NSC activity and point to WNT7A as a tool that may be instrumental for the NSC expansion phase that precedes grafting.

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