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J Pathol. 2002 Jul;197(4):479-91.

Epidermal stem cells.

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Imperial Cancer Research Fund, 44 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PX, UK.


The clinical implications of understanding epidermal stem cell biology abound. Thousands of burns victims across the world have benefited from early research into the proliferation of epidermal keratinocytes in vitro. Advances now indicate there are a number of stem cell repositories within the epidermis, two of which, the interfollicular epidermis and the bulge region of the hair follicle, may supply each other when damaged. This review details the progress made in the identification and characterisation of stem cells within the epidermis and discusses the molecules involved in the epidermal stem cell's choice of fate. Finally, the skin, like bone marrow, could be a readily accessible source of stem cells for therapeutic intervention and evidence of skin stem cell plasticity is highlighted.

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