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J Neurobiol. 1998 Aug;36(2):307-14.

CNS stem cells: where's the biology (a.k.a. beef)?

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Department of Anatomy, University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine, Alberta, Canada.


Central nervous system (CNS) stem cells have become the subject of many laboratories' efforts, presentations, and publications. Yet, in the stem cell world, CNS cells are viewed with skepticism. This is likely due to a dearth of biology (in vivo function) to accompany a flurry of phenomenological and restorative neurology studies. In this article, we compare and contrast the biological knowledge of adult forebrain epidermal growth factor-responsive neural stem cells that has emerged from our laboratories with that of hematopoietic stem cells, using two recent papers in the latter field as specific examples. A comparison of stem cell location, lineage, and repopulation suggests that our understanding of CNS stem cell biology is immature. We conclude that a greater focus on in vivo biology will enhance our knowledge and understanding of CNS stem cells.

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