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Anat Res Int. 2012;2012:837626. doi: 10.1155/2012/837626. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Origin and regenerative potential of vertebrate mechanoreceptor-associated stem cells.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Bielefeld, Universitätsstraße 25, 33501 Bielefeld, Germany.


Meissner corpuscles and Merkel cell neurite complexes are highly specialized mechanoreceptors present in the hairy and glabrous skin, as well as in different types of mucosa. Several reports suggest that after injury, such as after nerve crush, freeze injury, or dissection of the nerve, they are able to regenerate, particularly including reinnervation and repopulation of the mechanoreceptors by Schwann cells. However, little is known about mammalian cells responsible for these regenerative processes. Here we review cellular origin of this plasticity in the light of newly described adult neural crest-derived stem cell populations. We also discuss further potential multipotent stem cell populations with the ability to regenerate disrupted innervation and to functionally recover the mechanoreceptors. These capabilities are discussed as in context to cellularly reprogrammed Schwann cells and tissue resident adult mesenchymal stem cells.

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