Neural stem cells exist not only in the developing mammalian nervous system but also in the adult nervous system of all mammalian organisms, including humans. Neural stem cells can also be derived from more primitive embryonic stem cells. The location of the adult stem cells and the brain regions to which their progeny migrate in order to differentiate remain unresolved, although the number of viable locations is limited in the adult. The mechanisms that regulate endogenous stem cells are poorly understood. Potential uses of stem cells in repair include transplantation to repair missing cells and the activation of endogenous cells to provide “self-repair.” Before the full potential of neural stem cells can be realized, we need to learn what controls their proliferation, as well as the various pathways of differentiation available to their daughter cells.
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