The Source of Skin Stem Cells

From Reuters: "researchers conducted a study in mice and found that the stem cell that produces all the different cells of the skin actually lives in hair follicles. The findings, which they say will translate for human use, mean it may be possible to harness these stem cells to help with wound repair or skin transplants for burns victims ... The same stem cells exist in humans, we can see them, and the promise is that these cells are probably going to be much better than anything we have had to date at making new skin. ... The skin has three different populations of cells - hair follicles, moisturizing sebaceous glands, and the tissue in between, known as the interfollicular epidermis. Stem cells are original cells, or drivers, from which all human cells develop. Scientists had previously thought that stem cells in each of these three skin populations were capable of producing their own cell type, but until now, a 'mother' stem cell which produces all three types had not been found. ... Scientists are already able to grow new skin in laboratories using tissue from existing skin cells from patients who have been badly burned, but the new skin is often brittle, dry and does not have hair - making it look unusual. ... the advantage offered by the 'mother' stem cell finding would be that they could grow skin from its original basis - allowing it to be 'real new skin' with moisture from sebaceous glands and the ability to grow hair."

Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62A4KQ20100311

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