Therapeutic Plasticity of Neural Stem Cells

Linda Ottoboni, Beatrice von Wunster, Gianvito Martino

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Neural stem cells (NSCs) have garnered significant scientific and commercial interest in the last 15 years. Given their plasticity, defined as the ability to develop into different phenotypes inside and outside of the nervous system, with a capacity of almost unlimited self-renewal, of releasing trophic and immunomodulatory factors, and of exploiting temporal and spatial dynamics, NSCs have been proposed for (i) neurotoxicity testing; (ii) cellular therapies to treat CNS diseases; (iii) neural tissue engineering and repair; (iv) drug target validation and testing; (v) personalized medicine. Moreover, given the growing interest in developing cell-based therapies to target neurodegenerative diseases, recent progress in developing NSCs from human-induced pluripotent stem cells has produced an analog of endogenous NSCs. Herein, we will review the current understanding on emerging conceptual and technological topics in the neural stem cell field, such as deep characterization of the human compartment, single-cell spatial-temporal dynamics, reprogramming from somatic cells, and NSC manipulation and monitoring. Together, these aspects contribute to further disentangling NSC plasticity to better exploit the potential of those cells, which, in the future, might offer new strategies for brain therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number148
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 20 2020


  • cell engineering
  • neural stem cell
  • plasticity
  • repair
  • transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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