Normal Physiology and Function

The function of ependymoglia cells is unclear. Physiological stimulation of brain compartments evokes specific reactions among ependymoglia. It has been reported that fetal ependymal cells play an important role during development of the nervous system by forming the cellular highway for the migration of progenitor cells. Furthermore, they arrest neurogen-esis, facilitate motor neuron differentiation, and aid in transport of nutrients before development of capillary networks. Evidence of ependymal involvement in neuroendocrine function has also been reported as changes in ependymal cell morphology, coincident with changes in pituitary hormone secretion. In the adult brain, these cells provide only limited transport of ions, small molecules, and fluids between the brain and the CSF. The ependymal cells lining the ventricles act as a barrier for filtration of brain molecules and for the protection of the brain from potentially harmful substances in the CSF. From these examples, it is apparent that ependymoglia cells are continuously adapting to the changing needs of the neuronal tissue.

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