Identity crisis for adult periventricular neural stem cells: subventricular zone astrocytes, ependymal cells or both?

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2009 Feb;10(2):153-63. doi: 10.1038/nrn2571.


A population of neural stem cells (NSCs) resides adjacent to the lateral ventricles in the adult mammalian brain. Despite knowledge of their existence since the early 1990s, their identity remains controversial, with evidence suggesting that they may be ependymal cells, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-expressing subventricular zone (SVZ) cells or several distinct NSC populations. This issue has major implications for the therapeutic use of NSCs as well as for the study and treatment of brain cancers. Recent studies have both shed light on the issue and added to the controversy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cerebral Ventricles / cytology*
  • Ependyma / cytology
  • Ependyma / metabolism
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurons / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins