Stem Cells Int. 2019 May 5

Employing Endogenous NSCs to Promote Recovery of Spinal Cord Injury.

Liu S1,2, Chen Z1,2,3,4.
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Endogenous neural stem cells (NSCs) exist in the central canal of mammalian spinal cords. Under normal conditions, these NSCs remain quiescent and express FoxJ1. After spinal cord injury (SCI), the endogenous NSCs of a heterogeneous nature are activated and proliferate and migrate towards the lesion site and mainly differentiate into astrocytes to repair the injured tissue. In vitro, spinal cord NSCs are multipotent and can differentiate into neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. The altered microenvironments after SCI play key roles on the fate determination of activated NSCs, especially on the neuronal specification potential. Studies show that the activated spinal cord NSCs can generate interneurons when transplanted into the adult hippocampus. In addition, the spinal cord NSCs exhibit low immunogenicity in a transplantation context, thus implicating a promising therapeutic potential on SCI recovery. Here, we summarize the characteristics of spinal cord NSCs, especially their properties after injury. With a better understanding of endogenous NSCs under normal and SCI conditions, we may be able to employ endogenous NSCs for SCI repair in the future.