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J Neurobiol. 1998 Aug;36(2):152-61.

Transplantation as a tool to study progenitors within the vertebrate nervous system.

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The Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, Developmental Genetics Program, NYU Medical Center, New York, New York 10016, USA.


In recent years, many studies have focused on the fate and potential of neural progenitors in vertebrates. While much progress has been made, many questions remain about the mechanisms which lead to neural diversity, in terms of both the regionalization of the nervous system and specification of cell fates within those regions. Studies aimed at addressing these questions have fallen into three main categories: in vivo lineage tracings, in vitro differentiation analyses, and in vivo cell transplantation studies. This body of work has pointed to the existence of both pluripotent and unipotent neural progenitors, and has suggested that both cell intrinsic and extrinsic cues play a role in the determination of neural cell fate. In addition, the existence of neural "stem cells" maintained into adulthood has been suggested. This review will focus on transplantation studies in mammals, and will emphasize how this method has been useful as a means of determining the changing potential of neural precursors and their environments within the developing nervous system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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