Hair Follicle Stem Cell and the Spinal Cord
Interesting hair loss news regarding stem cells and their potential other uses in this case spinal cord repair.
In a recent University of California San Diego research study, some interesting aspects of stem cell therapy for the spinal cord repair.
Nestin has been shown to be expressed in the hair follicle, both in the bulge area (BA) as well as the dermal papilla (DP). Nestin-expressing stem cells of both the BA and DP have been previously shown to be pluripotent and be able to form neurons and other non-follicle cell types. The nestin-expressing pluripotent stem cells from the DP have been termed skin precursor or SKP cells. The objective of the present study was to determine the major source of nestin-expressing pluripotent stem cells in the hair follicle and to compare the ability of the nestin-expressing pluripotent stem cells from the BA and DP to repair spinal cord injury.
Transgenic mice in which the nestin promoter drives GFP (ND-GFP) were used in order to observe nestin expression in the BA and DP. Nestin-expressing DP cells were found in early and middle anagen. The BA had nestin expression throughout the hair cycle and to a greater extent than the DP. The cells from both regions had very long processes extending from them as shown by two-photon confocal microscopy. Nestin-expressing stem cells from both areas differentiated into neuronal cells at high frequency in vitro.
Both nestin-expressing DP and BA cells differentiated into neuronal and glial cells after transplantation to the injured spinal cord and enhanced injury repair and locomotor recovery within four weeks. Nestin-expressing pluripotent stem cells from both the BA and DP have potential for spinal cord regeneration, with the BA being the greater and more constant source.
More research in this exciting area of stem cell therapy is expected and is one of the most interesting hair loss related stem cell research areas.