Astrocytes pp 19-33 | Cite as

Role of Astrocytes in the Neurogenic Niches

  • Julia Schneider
  • Julian Karpf
  • Ruth BeckervordersandforthEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1938)


In the mammalian brain, highly specialized astrocytes serve as neural stem cells (NSCs) that divide and give rise to new neurons, in a process called neurogenesis. During embryonic development NSCs generate almost all neurons of the brain. Soon after birth the neurogenic potential of NSCs is highly reduced, and neurogenesis occurs only in two specialized brain regions called the neurogenic niches. Niche cells are essential to stem cells as they provide structural and nutritional support, and control fundamental stem cell decisions. Astrocytes, major components of the adult neurogenic niches, are evolving as important regulators of neurogenesis, by controlling NSC proliferation, fate choice, and differentiation of the progeny. Therefore, astrocytes contribute to neurogenesis in two ways: as NSCs and as niche cells. This review highlights the role of astrocyte-like NSCs during development and adulthood, and summarizes how niche astrocytes control the process of adult neurogenesis.

Key words

Astrocytes Neural stem cells Adult neurogenesis Neural stem cell niche 



We would like to thank Silvia Cappello, Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Munich, for carefully revising the manuscript. This work is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; BE 5136/2-1 and BE5136/1-2) and the DFG research training group 2162 “Neurodevelopment and Vulnerability of the Central Nervous System” (DFG GRK2162/1).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Schneider
    • 1
  • Julian Karpf
    • 1
  • Ruth Beckervordersandforth
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Emil Fischer Center, Institute of BiochemistryFriedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

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