[Frontiers in Bioscience S3, 1165-1179, June 1, 2011]

Neural stem cell niches: Roles for the hyaluronan-based extracellular matrix

Marnie Preston1, Larry S. Sherman1,2

1Division of Neuroscience, Oregon National Primate Research Center, Beaverton, OR, 2Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR


1. Abstract
2. Introduction
3. The ventricular zone: An early neural stem cell microenvironment
4. The subventricular and subgranular zones: early and adult neural stem cell niches
5. The extracellular matrix is an essential component of neural stem cell niches
6. Hyaluronan is a major constituent of the extracellular matrix
7. Structure, synthesis and degradation of HA
7.1. HA is synthesized by transmembrane synthases
7.2. HA is catabolized by multiple hyaluronidases
8. Physiological relevance of HA size and receptors in HA-mediated biological activities
8.1. Activities ascribed to HMW HA
8.2. Activities ascribed to LMW HA
8.3. Activities of transmembrane HA receptors in the nervous system
9. HA and the developing and adult CNS
10. HA is enriched in neural stem cell niches
11. Use of HA-based hydrogels to promote CNS repair by NSPCs
12. Conclusions
13. Acknowledgements
14. References


Neural stem/progenitor cells capable of differentiating into the neurons and glial cells that populate the mammalian central nervous system (CNS) persist in specific neural stem cell niches that regulate stem cell proliferation, survival and differentiation. There is growing evidence that the extracellular matrix within neural stem cell niches is required for neural stem cell maintenance. Here, we review findings supporting a pivotal role for the glycosaminoglycan hyaluronan (HA) and its transmembrane receptors in neural stem/progenitor cell proliferation, differentiation and maturation. We also outline findings supporting changing roles for HA as cells become committed to distinct lineages in the brain and spinal cord.