Plasticity of the Central Nervous System and Formation of “Auxiliary Niches” After Stem Cell Grafting: An Essay
It is hoped that stem cell biology will play a major role in the treatment of a number of so far incurable diseases via transplantation therapy. Today, we know that neural stem cell grafts not only represent a valuable source of missing cells and molecules for the host nervous system, but they also bring with them biological principles and processes assuring tissue plasticity and homeostasis found in early development and in postnatal neurogenic areas. In this review, we discuss the potential of grafted neural stem/progenitor cells to induce plasticity in the adult diseased brain by mimicking the cellular and molecular processes governing the biology of endogenous stem cell niches. If confirmed, such anlagen of “auxiliary niches” could help us to optimize intercellular communication in donor cell-initiated networks of graft–host interactions and to “rejuvenate” the adult nervous system in its response to disease and injury.
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