Review

Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 331, Issue 1, pp 165-178

First online:

Radial glia and neural stem cells

  • Paolo MalatestaAffiliated withDipartimento di Oncologia, Biologia e Genetica, Università degli Studi di GenovaIstituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro (IST), IRCCS Email author 
  • , Irene AppolloniAffiliated withDipartimento di Oncologia, Biologia e Genetica, Università degli Studi di GenovaIstituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro (IST), IRCCS
  • , Filippo CalzolariAffiliated withDipartimento di Oncologia, Biologia e Genetica, Università degli Studi di GenovaIstituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro (IST), IRCCS

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Abstract

During the last decade, the role of radial glia has been radically revisited. Rather than being considered a mere structural component serving to guide newborn neurons towards their final destinations, radial glia is now known to be the main source of neurons in several regions of the central nervous system, notably in the cerebral cortex. Radial glial cells differentiate from neuroepithelial progenitors at the beginning of neurogenesis and share with their ancestors the bipolar shape and the expression of some molecular markers. Radial glia, however, can be distinguished from neuroepithelial progenitors by the expression of astroglial markers. Clonal analyses showed that radial glia is a heterogeneous population, comprising both pluripotent and different lineage-restricted neural progenitors. At late-embryonic and postnatal stages, radial glial cells give rise to the neural stem cells responsible for adult neurogenesis. Embryonic pluripotent radial glia and adult neural stem cells may be clonally linked, thus representing a lineage displaying stem cell features in both the developing and mature central nervous system.

Keywords

Neural progenitors Ventricular zone Lineage tracing Neurogenesis Gliogenesis