Marrow-Mindedness: a Perspective on Neuropoiesis

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There are pluripotent stem cells in the adult brain that might not be very different from those found in bone marrow. Recent and profound advances in the field of neuropoiesis, which often rely on insights from studies of hematopoiesis and in some instances use cross-paradigms with this field, have already revealed that bone marrow has much in common with so-called ‘brain marrow’. Proliferative primogenitors and developmentally regulated molecules are hallmarks of both neuropoiesis and hematopoiesis. This article will focus on recent advances in neuropoiesis within a central core of the mature brain that is referred to as brain marrow, discussing its pluripotency and proliferative capacity, in vitro and molecular assays used in its study, and markers of neuropoietic stem/progenitor cells. As hematopoiesis research has led to the discovery of numerous morphogenetic factors, it is anticipated that studies of neuropoiesis should also uncover many new factors and genes that affect the growth and differentiation of neural cells. Recent breakthroughs in the stem-cell field prompt an inclusion of rationale for the persistence of normal stem/progenitor cells even in the aged brain. By analogy with hematopoiesis research, a thorough investigation of brain marrow should provide basic insights into developmental and persistent neurogenesis while anticipating cell-transplant and gene therapies for debilitating neurological diseases.



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