In the adult brain, neurogenic stem cells are prevalent in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the lateral ventricle wall and the subgranular zone (SGZ) in the dentate gyrus. Cells that have structural and molecular characteristics of astrocytes function as neurogenic stem cells in these regions, in which these cells also participate in the creation of the microenvironment that stimulates neurogenesis. In the present paper, we review the phenotypic properties, subpopulations, and proliferation of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-expressing cells in these two neurogenic regions and their responses to different brain injuries. Cells fulfilling the criteria for astrocytes, i.e., expressing GFAP, in the SVZ and SGZ respond differently to brain injuries or neurogenic stimuli. The importance of guidance by astrocytes of newly formed neuronal cells is emphasized. The assessment of GFAP-expressing cells in the neurogenic regions is of great importance for understanding the mechanism underlying the response of neural stem cells to brain injury.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.