AbstractAdult neurons are believed to be in a state of growth arrest. The generation of neurons is complete at the time of birth in most of the brain regions. However neurogenesis is present through life in the dentate gyrus of hippocampus and the lateral ventricles due to the presence of neural stem cells (NSC). This postnatal neurogenesis in hippocampus plays a critical role in cognitive development mainly in learning and memory functions. NSC are self-renewing, multipotent cells that generate the neurons and glia of the nervous system. Due to their high proliferation, NSC are highly sensitive to ionizing radiation. This review describes the current knowledge on impact of ionizing radiation on neural stem cells biology. Widening the knowledge of mechanisms involved in radiation-induced neurotoxicity at the level of NSC may help to overcome in the future the side effects occurring after anti-cancer therapies of the brain and help to protect and maintain neurogenesis.
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