Have you been questioning the meaning of the terms neural stem cells versus neuronal stem cells? If so, you’re not alone. The short answer is that neural means pertaining to a nerve or nerves (the cordlike bundles of fibers made up of neurons), while neuronal means pertaining to neurons (the conducting cells of the nervous system).
With this understanding, the term neural stem cell describes multipotent stem cells that can self-renew and differentiate into specialized cells of the brain, such as neurons, astrocytes, or oligodendrocytes.
In contrast, neuronal is a term that describes neurons, so practically speaking, it is often used in the context of describing neuronal networks (networks of neurons) or describing neuronal differentiation. For example, one might talk about stem cell-derived neuronal networks or neuronal differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells).
Therefore, when it comes to the world of stem cells, the cells that are capable of differentiating into specialized cells of the brain are neural stem cells.
With this surface level understanding, let’s dive deeper.