Though the adult central nervous system has been considered a comparatively static tissue with little turnover, it is well established today that new neural cells are generated throughout life. Neural stem/progenitor cells (NS/PCs) can self-renew and generate all types of neural cells. The proliferation of NS/PCs, and differentiation and fate determination of PCs are regulated by extrinsic factors such as growth factors, neurotrophins, and morphogens. Although several extrinsic factors that influence neurogenesis have already been reported, little is known about the role of soluble molecules in neural niche regulation. In this review, we will introduce the soluble molecule Akhirin and discuss its role in the eye and spinal cord during development.
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