Recent evidence shows that transplantation of neural stem/precursor cells may protect the central nervous system from inflammatory damage through a 'bystander' mechanism that is alternative to cell replacement. This novel mechanism, which might improve the success of transplantation procedures, is exerted by undifferentiated neural stem cells, the functional characteristics of which are regulated by important stem cell regulators released by CNS-resident and blood-borne inflammatory cells. Here, we discuss this alternative bystander mechanism in the context of the atypical ectopic perivascular niche. We propose that it is the most challenging example of reciprocal therapeutic crosstalk between the inflamed CNS and systemically transplanted neural stem cells.
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We wish to thank L. Politi for providing human and mouse MRI images. We are grateful to F. Mavilio for critical discussions about the manuscript. This work was supported in part by the Italian Ministry of Health, the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (FISM), the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) and The Myelin Project.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Martino, G., Pluchino, S. The therapeutic potential of neural stem cells. Nat Rev Neurosci 7, 395–406 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn1908
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