Hamdan Medical Journal (previously the Journal of Medical Sciences)

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Glial Cells as the Source of Neurons and Glia in the Developing and Adult CNS

Luisa Pinto, Magdalena Gotz
Published in : Journal of Medical Sciences ; Vol 1, No 3 (2008)
DOI : 10.2174/1996327000801030114


Here we discuss the identity, heterogeneity and functions of glial cells in the developing and adult central nervous system (CNS). First we define radial glial cells by morphological, cell biological and molecular criteria as true glial cells, akin to astroglia. We then describe the appearance of radial glial cells during neural development as a precursor intermediate between immature neuroepithelial cells and differentiating progeny. Then we review the diverse progeny arising in different lineages from radial glial cells as observed by clonal analyses and time-lapse imaging. This leads us to discuss the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of the lineage heterogeneity of radial glial cells - including their diversity in distinct regions of the CNS. We conclude by considering the possible mechanisms allowing neurogenic radial glial cells to persist into adulthood in various vertebrate classes ranging from fish to birds, while neurogenic glial cells become restricted to few small regions of the adult forebrain in mice and men. Despite these limitations of neurogenesis in the adult mammalian brain recent evidence demonstrated that glial cells local to the injury site can be reversed towards neurogenesis if provided with the adequate stimuli. This review therefore outlines the link between neurogenic mechanisms acting in radial glial and adult neural stem cells and the reactivation of glial cells towards neurogenesis after brain injury.

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