Endogenous adult neural stem cells: limits and potential to repair the injured central nervous system

J Neurosci Res. 2004 Apr 15;76(2):223-31. doi: 10.1002/jnr.20040.


Mitotic activity persists in various regions of the adult mammal CNS. While evidences of neurogenesis appeared, many studies focused on the features of the adult stem cells from germinative areas such as the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles, the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, the cortex, the fourth ventricle and the central canal of the spinal cord. In the present paper, we review the potentialities of the adult germinative areas in terms of proliferation, migration and differentiation in non pathological situation and in response to different type of CNS injury. Adult endogenous stem cells are activated in response to various injuries but their capacities to migrate and to undergo either neurogenesis or gliogenesis differ according to the lesion-type and the germinative zone from which they arise. Different works demonstrated that epigenic factors such as growth factors can enhance the repair potential of the adult stem cells. Reactivation and mobilization of endogenous stem cells as well as demonstration of their long-term survival and functionality appear to be interesting strategies to investigate in order to promote endogenous repair of the adult CNS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Injuries / therapy*
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy
  • Central Nervous System / cytology*
  • Central Nervous System / physiology
  • Growth Substances / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods
  • Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Growth Substances