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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Apr 11;368(3):483-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.01.097. Epub 2008 Jan 31.

Effects of Wnt3a on proliferation and differentiation of human epidermal stem cells.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, People's Republic of China.


Epidermal stem cells maintain development and homeostasis of mammalian epidermis throughout life. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in the proliferation and differentiation of epidermal stem cells are far from clear. In this study, we investigated the effects of Wnt3a and Wnt/beta-catenin signaling on proliferation and differentiation of human fetal epidermal stem cells. We found both Wnt3a and active beta-catenin, two key members of the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling, were expressed in human fetal epidermis and epidermal stem cells. In addition, Wnt3a protein can promote proliferation and inhibit differentiation of epidermal stem cells in vitro culture. Our results suggest that Wnt/beta-catenin signaling plays important roles in human fetal skin development and homeostasis, which also provide new insights on the molecular mechanisms of oncogenesis in human epidermis.

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