Benner EJ, Luciano D, Jo R, Abdi K, Paez-Gonzalez P, Sheng H, Warner DS, Liu C, Eroglu C, Kuo CT.
Protective astrogenesis from the SVZ niche after injury is controlled by Notch modulator Thbs4.
Nature. 2013 Apr 24;
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I think this result is quite interesting and important. Reactive astrocytosis is a dramatic response of the brain to any injury or disease. But where do these reactive astrocytes come from? Clearly, some local astrocytes alter their gene expression to become reactive, but these new findings indicate that the subventricular zone (SVZ) is an important source of astrocyte progenitors, which secrete THBS4 to activate Notch, which then promotes new astrocyte generation. Moreover, these SVZ cells are critical for repair. I think these findings raise the critical question of whether there are other molecular differences between these two types of reactive astrocytes that are critical for repair—and if so, what are these differences? They also raise the question of what type of reactive astrocyte is induced in Alzheimer's. Perhaps the more reparative type cannot be engaged because the SVZ is somehow not engaged. Much more to do!