Role of neural precursor cells in promoting repair following stroke

Authors: Pooya Dibajnia, Cindi M Morshead
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2012.107



1Department of Surgery, Division of Anatomy, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3E1, Canada; 2Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 1A8

Stem cell-based therapies for the treatment of stroke have received considerable attention. Two broad approaches to stem cell-based therapies have been taken: the transplantation of exogenous stem cells, and the activation of endogenous neural stem and progenitor cells (together termed neural precursors). Studies examining the transplantation of exogenous cells have demonstrated that neural stem and progenitor cells lead to the most clinically promising results. Endogenous activation of neural precursors has also been explored based on the fact that resident precursor cells have the inherent capacity to proliferate, migrate and differentiate into mature neurons in the uninjured adult brain. Studies have revealed that these neural precursor cell behaviours can be activated following stroke, whereby neural precursors will expand in number, migrate to the infarct site and differentiate into neurons. However, this innate response is insufficient to lead to functional recovery, making it necessary to enhance the activation of endogenous precursors to promote tissue repair and functional recovery. Herein we will discuss the current state of the stem cell-based approaches with a focus on endogenous repair to treat the stroke injured brain.

Keywords: neural precursor cells; stem cells; stroke; growth factors; neurogenesis; angiogenesis; transplantation; migration; adults

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received 2012-05-04 Accepted 2012-07-02

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