Neural stem cells and their progeny reside in two distinct neurogenic niches within the mammalian brain: the subventricular zone and the dentate gyrus. The interplay between the neural stem cells and the niche in which they reside can have significant effects on cell kinetics and neurogenesis. A comprehensive understanding of the changes to the niche that occur through postnatal development and aging, as well as following injury, is relevant for developing therapeutics and interventions to promote neural repair. We discuss changes that occur within the neural stem and progenitor cell populations, the vasculature, extracellular matrix, microglia, and secreted proteins through aging which impact cell behavior within the neurogenic niches. We examine neural precursor cell and niche responses to injury in neonatal hypoxia-ischemia, juvenile cranial irradiation, and adult stroke. This review examines the interplay between the niche and stem cell behavior through aging and following injury as a means to understand intrinsic and extrinsic factors that regulate neurogenesis in vivo.
Keywords: Aging; Irradiation; Neonatal; Neural stem cell; Stroke.