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 Magic number colloidal clusters
13.12.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Record levels of mercury released by thawing permafrost in Canadian Arctic
13.12.2018 | University of Alberta

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magic number colloidal clusters

13.12.2018 | Life Sciences

UNLV study unlocks clues to how planets form

13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Live from the ocean research vessel Atlantis

13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>