Multipotency and therapeutic potential of NG2 cells

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Abstract

NG2 cells represent one of the most proliferative glial cell populations in the intact mammalian central nervous system (CNS). They are well-known for their ability to renew themselves or to generate new oligodendrocytes during development as well as in adulthood, therefore also being termed oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. Following CNS injuries, such as demyelination, trauma or ischemia, the proliferative capacity of NG2 cells rapidly increases and moreover, their differentiation potential broadens, as documented by numerous reports also describing their differentiation into astrocytes or even neurons. Here, we summarize the current knowledge about NG2 cells proliferation, their fate plasticity during embryogenesis as well as in postnatal CNS under physiological and pathological conditions, with the main emphasis on the role of various signaling molecules, growth factors, hormones or even neurotransmitters on the fate potential of NG2 cells.

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