Adult NSC diversity and plasticity: the role of the niche

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2017 Feb;42:68-74. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2016.11.008. Epub 2016 Dec 12.


Adult somatic stem cells are generally defined as cells with the ability to differentiate into multiple different lineages and to self-renew during long periods of time. These features were long presumed to be represented in one single tissue-specific stem cell. Recent development of single-cell technologies reveals the existence of diversity in fate and activation state of somatic stem cells within the blood, skin and intestinal compartments [1] but also in the adult brain. Here we review how recent advances have expanded our view of neural stem cells (NSCs) as a diverse pool of cells and how the specialized microenvironment in which they reside acts to maintain this diversity. In addition, we discuss the plasticity of the system in the injured brain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adult Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Adult Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Cellular Microenvironment / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neural Stem Cells / physiology*