Adult stem cells (SCs) function in tissue homeostasis and wound repair. They are often characterized by their slowly cycling nature and their location within a niche, features thought to preserve their ability to self-renew and remain undifferentiated over the lifetime of the animal. In the adult skin, slow-cycling, relatively undifferentiated SCs exist within a niche known as the bulge, located below the sebaceous gland in the outer root sheath (ORS) of the hair follicle (HF).
Mammalian skin contains thousands of hair follicles, each undergoing continuous regenerative cycling. During human life time, three phases of the hair growth are cycled: 1) Anagen=growth phase; 2) Catage=degradation phase, 3) Telogen=resting phase. The periods of each phases are tightly regulated by a series of activating factors.
REGERON > R&D > STEM CELL RESEARCH
[ Human Hair Follicle ]
Global gene expression profiling provides a useful means to identify key aspects of the skin cell regulation, and provides information to help develop new skin technologies. Gene expression data together with advanced bioinformatics approaches have led to identification of skin stem cell pathways affected by a series of soluble ligand proteins, including WNT (Wingless), BMP (Bone morphogenic protein), FGF (fibroblast growth factor), TGF-β (Transforming growth factor-β), Sonic hedgehog, Notch, and neurotrophins. Altough these ligands are proven to be skin stem regulators, the other governing regulators of the cycle stage progression remain largely unidentified. Identifying additional regulators in hair-follicle cycling is important because aberrant regulation of hair cycle control genes is responsible for several types of abnormal hair loss.
As an initial step in discovering regulators in hair-follicle morphogenesis and cycling, Our R&D department used DNA microarrays to profile mRNA expression in representative skin points such as dermal papilla (DP), matrix (MX), outer root sheath (ORS), and inner root sheath (IRS). Also, we documented experimental data and classified genes showing hair-cycle-associated changes in expression within the skin. These hair-cycle-related genes were then classified into distinct cell signal pahtways. By using these approaches together, we identified pathways and genes that are likely to play roles in hair-follicle morphogenesis and cycling.
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