The role of neural stem cells in regulating glial scar formation and repair.
Glial scars are a common pathological occurrence in a variety of central nervous system (CNS) diseases and injuries. They are caused after severe damage and consist of reactive glia that form a barrier around the damaged tissue that leads to a non-permissive microenvironment which prevents proper endogenous regeneration. While there are a number of therapies that are able to address some components of disease, there are none that provide regenerative properties. Within the past decade, neural stem cells (NSCs) have been heavily studied due to their potent anti-inflammatory and reparative capabilities in disease and injury. Exogenously applied NSCs have been found to aid in glial scar healing by reducing inflammation and providing cell replacement. However, endogenous NSCs have also been found to contribute to the reactive environment by different means. Further understanding how NSCs can be leveraged to aid in the resolution of the glial scar is imperative in the use of these cells as regenerative therapies. To do so, humanised 3D model systems have been developed to study the development and maintenance of the glial scar. Herein, we explore the current work on endogenous and exogenous NSCs in the glial scar as well as the novel 3D stem cell-based technologies being used to model this pathology in a dish.