In the subventricular zone of the adult mammalian forebrain, neural stem cells (NSCs) reside and proliferate to generate young neurons. We screened factors that promoted the proliferation of NSCs in vitro by a recently developed proteomics technique, the ProteinChip system. In this screen, we identified a soluble carbohydrate-binding protein, Galectin-1, as a candidate. We show herein that Galectin-1 is expressed in a subset of slowly dividing subventricular zone astrocytes, which includes the NSCs. Based on results from intraventricular infusion experiments and phenotypic analyses of knockout mice, we demonstrate that Galectin-1 is an endogenous factor that promotes the proliferation of NSCs in the adult brain.