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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 1513285, 15 pages
Review Article

Mimicking Neural Stem Cell Niche by Biocompatible Substrates

Instituto de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Veracruzana, Avenida Luis Castelazo Ayala, s/n, 91190 Xalapa, VER, Mexico

Received 1 July 2015; Revised 19 October 2015; Accepted 23 November 2015

Academic Editor: Ashok K. Shetty

Copyright © 2016 Citlalli Regalado-Santiago et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neural stem cells (NSCs) participate in the maintenance, repair, and regeneration of the central nervous system. During development, the primary NSCs are distributed along the ventricular zone of the neural tube, while, in adults, NSCs are mainly restricted to the subependymal layer of the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles and the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus in the hippocampus. The circumscribed areas where the NSCs are located contain the secreted proteins and extracellular matrix components that conform their niche. The interplay among the niche elements and NSCs determines the balance between stemness and differentiation, quiescence, and proliferation. The understanding of niche characteristics and how they regulate NSCs activity is critical to building in vitro models that include the relevant components of the in vivo niche and to developing neuroregenerative approaches that consider the extracellular environment of NSCs. This review aims to examine both the current knowledge on neurogenic niche and how it is being used to develop biocompatible substrates for the in vitro and in vivo mimicking of extracellular NSCs conditions.