Neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs) that reside within germinal niches of the adult CNS have more complex roles than previously expected. In addition to their well-documented neurogenic functions, emerging evidence indicates that NPCs exert non-neurogenic functions that contribute to the regulation and preservation of tissue homeostasis under both physiological and pathological conditions. In this issue of the JCI, Mohammad et al. found that DCs efficiently patrol the CNS only when the germinal niche of the subventricular zone functions properly. Indeed, DCs traveled from the ventricles along the rostral migratory stream to the olfactory bulb (a cervical lymph node access point) to dampen anti-CNS immune responses. The authors' findings further support a non-neurogenic role for NPCs in maintaining tissue homeostasis and promoting tissue protection in the adult brain.
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