Author(s): Lako M, Armstrong L, Cairns PM, Harris S, Hole N,
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Abstract Skin and hair follicle stem cell biology is the focus of increasing interest, not least because the adult hair follicle has well defined dermal and epithelial populations that display distinct developmental properties. Recent evidence suggests that a number of adult cell populations have much broader stem cell capabilities than previously thought. To examine whether this applied to the hair follicle, and with a view to developing the follicle as a stem cell model system we investigated whether adult hair follicles were capable of demonstrating haematopoietic stem cell activity. To investigate haematopoietic activity in hair follicles we first used in vitro haematopoietic colony assays. This demonstrated that rodent hair follicle end bulbs as well as micro-dissected dermal papilla and dermal sheath cells actively produced cells of erythroid and myeloid lineages but that follicle epithelial cells did not. As a more stringent test, we then transplanted cultured dermal papilla or dermal sheath cells from transgenically marked donor mice into lethally irradiated recipient mice and observed multi-lineage haematopoietic reconstitution when assayed at intervals of up to one year. Colony assays from bone marrow of primary recipients revealed that over 70\% of clonogenic precursors were derived from donor hair follicle cells. When bone marrow from primary mice was harvested and used to repopulate secondary myeloablated recipients, multi-lineage haematopoietic engraftment was observed. Our data show that dermal but not epidermal compartments of the adult hair follicle have much broader stem cell activities than previously described. Although the treatment for many forms of blood disorder, such as leukemia, often requires transplantation of haematopoietic stem cells (HSC), their availability can be rate limiting. Given its easy accessibility, our identification of the hair follicle as a source of extramedullary haematopoietic stem cell activity makes it an attractive potential source for blood stem cell therapeutics and highlights its value as a model system in adult stem cell biology.
This article was published in J Cell Sci
and referenced in Hair Therapy & Transplantation