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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 17;8(6):e65664. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065664. Print 2013.

Characterization of hair follicle development in engineered skin substitutes.

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School of Energy, Environmental, Biological and Medical Engineering, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.


Generation of skin appendages in engineered skin substitutes has been limited by lack of trichogenic potency in cultured postnatal cells. To investigate the feasibility and the limitation of hair regeneration, engineered skin substitutes were prepared with chimeric populations of cultured human keratinocytes from neonatal foreskins and cultured murine dermal papilla cells from adult GFP transgenic mice and grafted orthotopically to full-thickness wounds on athymic mice. Non-cultured dissociated neonatal murine-only skin cells, or cultured human-only skin keratinocytes and fibroblasts without dermal papilla cells served as positive and negative controls respectively. In this study, neonatal murine-only skin substitutes formed external hairs and sebaceous glands, chimeric skin substitutes formed pigmented hairs without sebaceous glands, and human-only skin substitutes formed no follicles or glands. Although chimeric hair cannot erupt readily, removal of upper skin layer exposed keratinized hair shafts at the skin surface. Development of incomplete pilosebaceous units in chimeric hair corresponded with upregulation of hair-related genes, LEF1 and WNT10B, and downregulation of a marker of sebaceous glands, Steroyl-CoA desaturase. Transepidermal water loss was normal in all conditions. This study demonstrated that while sebaceous glands may be involved in hair eruption, they are not required for hair development in engineered skin substitutes.

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