Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Skin stem cells give hairless mice hair

03.09.2004


Stem cells that researchers have isolated from the skin of mice have the power to self-renew when cultured in the laboratory, as well as to differentiate into skin and functioning hair follicles when grafted onto mice. The findings mean that the human equivalent of these stem cells, which scientists are also trying to isolate, could ultimately be used to regenerate skin and hair, the researchers said.

Stem cells -- isolated from embryos or from adult tissue -- are immature progenitor cells with the capability to differentiate into a variety of specialized cells that form tissues and organs. Scientists are working toward using stem cells to grow mature specialized cells that could regenerate damaged or diseased skin, brain, heart or other organs. The new findings constitute another step toward understanding how to mimic the chemical signals that the cells require to differentiate into mature tissues, according to Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Elaine Fuchs. Fuchs and colleagues at The Rockefeller University published their findings in the September 3, 2004, issue of the journal Cell.

According to Fuchs, previous studies in her laboratory and others suggested that a structure called the bulge, which is located within each hair follicle, might contain stem cells. Those studies hinted that the stem cells might provide the source of both new skin and hair follicles.



"However, two major questions remained," said Fuchs. "One was whether there was a single type of multipotent stem cell within the bulge, or a bag of different kinds of stem cells -- some of which could repopulate the epidermis and others that could produce hair follicles. "The second major question was whether these cells were capable of undergoing self-renewal. And of particular interest to clinicians was whether they could undergo division in a lab dish and still have the capability to perform either epidermal repair or hair-follicle generation."

To answer those questions, Fuchs and her colleagues first isolated stem cells from the bulge by fusing antibodies to characteristic cell surface molecules. "An important aspect of this paper was that we found we could isolate and characterize these cells by taking advantage of the cell-surface markers that we had previously identified from molecular profiling experiments," said Fuchs. "We can now utilize similar methods to begin to compare mouse and human skin stem cells."

The scientists’ analyses of the biochemical characteristics of the isolated mouse stem cells revealed that the bulge contained two distinct populations of stem cells. One type, called "basal" cells, is active during early development. In contrast the "suprabasal" cells appear only after the first hair generation cycle. This distinction offers biologists an opportunity to compare the two groups of cells, in terms of the control that the bulge exerts over their proliferation and differentiation.

Despite the fact that the stem cells expressed many different genes, both populations were capable of self-renewal when grown in culture, said Fuchs. The researchers also found that both types of cells -- even after being cultured -- produced hair follicles when grafted onto the skin of a strain of hairless mice.

"I think clinicians will be interested in the fact that both of these populations can produce hair follicles after culture," said Fuchs. "Previously, researchers have done similar transplant experiments with dissected parts of the hair follicle. And, while they’ve had evidence that hair follicle structures were forming, they didn’t see generation of hair.

"In contrast, in our experiments, we saw quite a density of hairs, in some cases at a density that’s very similar to that of normal mouse fur," said Fuchs. "While we are not yet able to achieve such density a hundred percent of the time, the fact that we do get such density in some cases tells us that the system is working well. We just need to tweak it to the point where we can get such results consistently," she said.

Importantly, said Fuchs, the stem cells they isolated showed a molecular signature of gene activity that demonstrates their "stemness." Such characteristics, she said, represent the beginning of a broader effort to compare the genes activated in many stem cell types, to understand the factors that control their proliferation and differentiation.

"The information that we have now on the ’stemness’ genes is allowing us to narrow in on some of the similarities among stem cells of the body," she said. "I believe this profiling information will ultimately give us some very good clues as to how stem cells respond to various external cues. And this information will help us understand how we can coax stem cells down one specific lineage or another in culture."

The findings also emphasize the promise that such studies hold for the treatment of such skin disorders as ulcers or injury, as well as the generation of hair follicles from stem cells, she said.

Jennifer Michalowski | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hhmi.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>