Neurons from the central nervous system (CNS) can regenerate, but little is known about the potential of adult neural stem cells to develop into functional nervous cells. In April 15 online Nature Neuroscience, Hong-jun Song and colleagues from the Salk Institute, La Jolla, California, show that neural stem cells derived from adult tissues retain the potential to differentiate into cells with properties similar to that of mature CNS neurons.

Song et al. established an in vitro co-culture system to examine stem cells derived from adult hippocampal tissue. They observed that progeny of adult rat neural stem cells developed into electrically active neurons and integrated into neural networks with functional synaptic transmission. In addition, they also showed that functional neurogenesis from adult stem cells was possible in co-culture with astrocytes from adult and neonatal hippocampus (Nat Neurosci 2002, DOI: 10.1038/nn844).

"These results indicate that, with additional factors,...

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