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J Neurochem. 2013 Jan;124(2):159-67. doi: 10.1111/jnc.12084. Epub 2012 Dec 5.

Adult neural stem cells: an endogenous tool to repair brain injury?

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Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology, Institute of Genetics and Biophysics Adriano Buzzati Traverso, CNR, Naples, Italy.


Research on stem cells has developed as one of the most promising areas of neurobiology. In the beginning of the 1990s, neurogenesis in the adult brain was indisputably accepted, eliciting great research efforts. Neural stem cells in the adult mammalian brain are located in the 'neurogenic' areas of the subventricular and subgranular zones. Nevertheless, many reports indicate that they subsist in other regions of the adult brain. Adult neural stem cells have arisen considerable interest as these studies can be useful to develop new methods to replace damaged neurons and treat severe neurological diseases such as neurodegeneration, stroke or spinal cord lesions. In particular, a promising field is aimed at stimulating or trigger a self-repair system in the diseased brain driven by its own stem cell population. Here, we will revise the latest findings on the characterization of active and quiescent adult neural stem cells in the main regions of neurogenesis and the factors necessary to maintain their active and resting states, stimulate migration and homing in diseased areas, hoping to outline the emerging knowledge for the promotion of regeneration in the brain based on endogenous stem cells.

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