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The subventricular zones (SVZs) are essential sources of new cells in the developing brain and remnants of these germinal zones persist into adulthood. As these cells have the capacity to replenish neurons and glia that are turning over, many investigators have assessed the SVZ's role in replacing neural cells eliminated by brain injuries. A review of the literature reveals that the progenitors within the SVZs are vulnerable to chemical, radiation and ischemia-induced damage, whereas the neural stem cells are resilient. With moderate insults, the SVZ can recover, but it cannot recover after more severe injury. Thus, the vulnerability of these cells has important ramifications when considering therapeutic interventions for the treatment of brain tumors and for the prospect of recovery after ischemia. The cells of the perinatal and adult SVZ not only have the capacity to replenish their own numbers, but they also have the capacity to replace neurons and glia after ischemic and traumatic brain injuries. Moreover, the mechanisms underlying these regenerative responses are beginning to be revealed. By reviewing, comparing and contrasting the responses of the SVZs to different injuries, our goal is to provide a foundation from which current and future studies on the potential of the SVZs for cell replacement can be evaluated.

Original publication




Journal article


Prog Neurobiol

Publication Date





77 - 99


Animals, Antineoplastic Agents, Brain Injuries, Cell Differentiation, Cell Movement, Cell Proliferation, Cerebral Ventricles, Humans, Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain, Mammals, Nerve Regeneration, Radiation Injuries, Recovery of Function, Stem Cells