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      Direct migration of follicular melanocyte stem cells to the epidermis after wounding or UVB irradiation is dependent on Mc1r signaling

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          Abstract

          During wound healing, stem cells provide functional mature cells to meet acute demands for tissue regeneration. Simultaneously, the tissue must maintain a pool of stem cells to sustain its future regeneration capability. However, how these requirements are balanced in response to injury is unknown. Here we demonstrate that after wounding or ultraviolet type B irradiation, melanocyte stem cells (McSCs) in the hair follicle exit the stem cell niche before their initial cell division, potentially depleting the pool of these cells. We also found that McSCs migrate to the epidermis in a melanocortin 1 receptor (Mc1r)-dependent manner and differentiate into functional epidermal melanocytes, providing a pigmented protective barrier against ultraviolet irradiation over the damaged skin. These findings provide an example in which stem cell differentiation due to injury takes precedence over stem cell maintenance and show the potential for developing therapies for skin pigmentation disorders by manipulating McSCs.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Label-retaining cells reside in the bulge area of pilosebaceous unit: implications for follicular stem cells, hair cycle, and skin carcinogenesis.

          Inconsistent with the view that hair follicle stem cells reside in the matrix area of the hair bulb, we found that label-retaining cells exist exclusively in the bulge area of the mouse hair follicle. The bulge consists of a subpopulation of outer root sheath cells located in the midportion of the follicle at the arrector pili muscle attachment site. Keratinocytes in the bulge area are relatively undifferentiated ultrastructurally. They are normally slow cycling, but can be stimulated to proliferate transiently by TPA. Located in a well-protected and nourished environment, these cells mark the lower end of the "permanent" portion of the follicle. Our findings, plus a reevaluation of the literature, suggest that follicular stem cells reside in the bulge region, instead of the lower bulb. This new view provides insights into hair cycle control and the possible involvement of hair follicle stem cells in skin carcinogenesis.
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            Epidermal homeostasis: a balancing act of stem cells in the skin.

            The skin epidermis and its array of appendages undergo ongoing renewal by a process called homeostasis. Stem cells in the epidermis have a crucial role in maintaining tissue homeostasis by providing new cells to replace those that are constantly lost during tissue turnover or following injury. Different resident skin stem cell pools contribute to the maintenance and repair of the various epidermal tissues of the skin, including interfollicular epidermis, hair follicles and sebaceous glands. Interestingly, the basic mechanisms and signalling pathways that orchestrate epithelial morphogenesis in the skin are reused during adult life to regulate skin homeostasis.
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              Wnt-dependent de novo hair follicle regeneration in adult mouse skin after wounding.

              The mammalian hair follicle is a complex 'mini-organ' thought to form only during development; loss of an adult follicle is considered permanent. However, the possibility that hair follicles develop de novo following wounding was raised in studies on rabbits, mice and even humans fifty years ago. Subsequently, these observations were generally discounted because definitive evidence for follicular neogenesis was not presented. Here we show that, after wounding, hair follicles form de novo in genetically normal adult mice. The regenerated hair follicles establish a stem cell population, express known molecular markers of follicle differentiation, produce a hair shaft and progress through all stages of the hair follicle cycle. Lineage analysis demonstrated that the nascent follicles arise from epithelial cells outside of the hair follicle stem cell niche, suggesting that epidermal cells in the wound assume a hair follicle stem cell phenotype. Inhibition of Wnt signalling after re-epithelialization completely abrogates this wounding-induced folliculogenesis, whereas overexpression of Wnt ligand in the epidermis increases the number of regenerated hair follicles. These remarkable regenerative capabilities of the adult support the notion that wounding induces an embryonic phenotype in skin, and that this provides a window for manipulation of hair follicle neogenesis by Wnt proteins. These findings suggest treatments for wounds, hair loss and other degenerative skin disorders.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Medicine
                Nat Med
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1078-8956
                1546-170X
                July 2013
                June 9 2013
                July 2013
                : 19
                : 7
                : 924-929
                Article
                10.1038/nm.3194
                3859297
                23749232
                © 2013

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