Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 22, pp 4097–4120 | Cite as

Nuclear receptors in neural stem/progenitor cell homeostasis

  • Dimitrios Gkikas
  • Matina Tsampoula
  • Panagiotis K. PolitisEmail author


In the central nervous system, embryonic and adult neural stem/progenitor cells (NSCs) generate the enormous variety and huge numbers of neuronal and glial cells that provide structural and functional support in the brain and spinal cord. Over the last decades, nuclear receptors and their natural ligands have emerged as critical regulators of NSC homeostasis during embryonic development and adult life. Furthermore, substantial progress has been achieved towards elucidating the molecular mechanisms of nuclear receptors action in proliferative and differentiation capacities of NSCs. Aberrant expression or function of nuclear receptors in NSCs also contributes to the pathogenesis of various nervous system diseases. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of the regulatory roles of steroid, non-steroid, and orphan nuclear receptors in NSC fate decisions. These studies establish nuclear receptors as key therapeutic targets in brain diseases.


Brain development Neurogenesis Astrogliogenesis Agonists/antagonists Drug targets Neurological diseases Glucocorticoid Retinoic acid 



Aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase

Amyloid beta


Alzheimer’s disease


Advanced glycated end


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis


Amyloid precursor protein


Blood-brain barrier


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor


Bisphenol A




3α,7α,12α-Trihydroxy-5β-cholan-24-oic acid


Central nervous system


Ciliary neurotrophic factor


Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor




Dopamine transporter


DNA binding domain




Dentate gyrus


Docosahexaenoic acid


Developmental vitamin D




Estrogen receptor


Estrogen response element


Embryonic stem cells


Fushi tarazu factor 1




Germ cell nuclear factor


Glial-derived neurotrophic factor


Gap junction intracellular communication


Glucocorticoid receptor


Glucocorticoid response element


Histone deacetylase




Induced pluripotent stem cells


Ligand-binding domain


Liver receptor homolog 1


Liver X receptor


Microtubule-associated protein 2


Minerolocorticoid receptor


Mesenchymal stem cells


NGFI-B response element


Nuclear receptor co-repressor


Nerve growth factor


Nuclear localization signal


Nuclear receptor


Neural stem/progenitor cells




Nuclear receptor-related 1 protein


Parkinson’s disease


Peroxisomal membrane elongation factor


Pituitary homeobox 3


Peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor


Peroxisome-proliferator DNA response element


Protein arginine methyl transferase 1


Protein arginine methyl transferase 8


Retinoic acid


Retinoic acid receptor


Retinoic acid response element


Retinoic X receptor


Steroidogenic factor 1


Subgranular zone


Sonic hedgehog


Subventricular zone


Synaptic vesicle protein synaptophysin






Tyrosine hydroxylase


Thyroid hormone receptor


Thyroid hormone response element


Vitamin D receptor


VDR response element


Vesicular monoamine transporter-2


Ventromedial hypothalamic


Ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus



We would like to apologize for studies that were not cited due to space limitations. We thank Daphne Antoniou, Elpinickie Ninou, Valeria Kaltezioti, Artemis Michail, and Athanasios Stergiopoulos for helpful discussions and suggestions. The authors work was supported by the Fondation Santé Grant scheme, the Greek State Scholarships Foundation (IKY) and ARISTEIA-II (NeuroNetwk, No. 4786) Grant from General Secretariat of Research and Technology (GSRT), Athens, Greece.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Basic ResearchBiomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of AthensAthensGreece

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