Stem cells offer great potential for regenerative medicine because they regenerate damaged tissue by cell replacement and/or by stimulating endogenous repair mechanisms. Although stem cells are defined by their functional properties, such as the potential to proliferate, to self-renew, and to differentiate into specific cell types, their identification based on the expression of specific markers remains vague. Here, profiles of stem cell metabolism might highlight stem cell function more than the expression of single genes/markers. Thus, systematic approaches including spectroscopy might yield insight into stem cell function, identity, and stemness. We review the findings gained by means of metabolic and spectroscopic profiling methodologies, for example, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMRS), mass spectrometry (MS), and Raman spectroscopy (RS), with a focus on neural stem cells and neurogenesis.
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