Invited review article| Volume 57, ISSUE 1, P2-11, January 2010

Review of hair follicle dermal cells

  • Chao-Chun Yang
    Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

    Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 704, Taiwan

    Institute of Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 704, Taiwan
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  • George Cotsarelis
    Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 215 898 9967; fax: +1 215 573 9102.
    Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
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      Hair follicle stem cells in the epithelial bulge are responsible for the continual regeneration of the hair follicle during cycling. The bulge cells reside in a niche composed of dermal cells. The dermal compartment of the hair follicle consists of the dermal papilla and dermal sheath. Interactions between hair follicle epithelial and dermal cells are necessary for hair follicle morphogenesis during development and in hair reconstitution assays. Dermal papilla and dermal sheath cells express specific markers and possess distinctive morphology and behavior in culture. These cells can induce hair follicle differentiation in epithelial cells and are required in hair reconstitution assays either in the form of intact tissue, dissociated freshly prepared cells or cultured cells. This review will focus on hair follicle dermal cells since most therapeutic efforts to date have concentrated on this aspect of the hair follicle, with the idea that enriching hair-inductive dermal cell populations and expanding their number by culture while maintaining their properties, will establish an efficient hair reconstitution assay that could eventually have therapeutic implications.


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      Dr. Chao-Chun Yang is doing his postdoctoral research in Dr. George Cotsarelis’ laboratory in University of Pennsylvania, USA since 2008. He received his MD degree in National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan in 1999. After finishing residency training, he served as an attending physician and ran the hair clinics in the Department of Dermatology, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, Tainan, Taiwan since 2005. His current research is focused on developing hair reconstitution assays.


      George Cotsarelis (MD) is the Albert M. Kligman Professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia where he is the Director of the Hair and Scalp Clinic and Director of the Program on Epithelial Regeneration and Stem Cells, University of Pennsylvania Institute for Regenerative Medicine. He received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he also completed his Dermatology Residency and a Howard Hughes sponsored Fellowship for Physicians in molecular biology. He is the first to identified and localized stem cells in the hair follicles of both mice and humans. The hair follicle stem cells are located in a unique area called the bulge. Since the identification of these cells, he has developed means for isolating, characterizing and manipulating them. He first demonstrated that isolated hair follicle stem cells could generate new hair follicles when injected into immunodeficient mice. His research areas of interest include epithelial stem cells, hair follicle biology, wound healing and skin regeneration.