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Chin Med J (Engl). 2013;126(18):3545-52.

Future application of hair follicle stem cells: capable in differentiation into sweat gland cells.

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School of Medicine, Nankai University, Tianjin 300192, China; Wound Healing and Cell Biology Laboratory, Burns Institute, First Affiliated Hospital of General Hospital of Chinese People's Liberation Army, Trauma Centre of Postgraduate Medical College, Beijing 100048, China.



Sweat glands (SGs) can not regenerate after complete destruction in the severe skin injury, so it is important to find a ideal stem cell source in order to regenerate functional SGs. Hair follicle stem cells (HFSCs) possess the obvious properties of the adult stem cells, which are multipotent and easily accessible. In this research, we attempted to direct the HFSCs suffered from the sweat gland cells (SGCs) special differentiation by a co-operative coculture system in vitro.


The designed co-culture microenvironment in the transwell was consist of two critial factors: heat shocked SGCs and dermis-like mesenchymal tissue, which appeared independently in the two control groups; after induction, the purified induced SGC-like cells were transplanted into the full-thickness scalded wounds of the nude mice, after 4 weeks, the reconstructed SG-like structures were identified by immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence analysis.


A part of HFSCs in experimental group finally expressed SGCs phenotypes, by contrast, the control group 1 which just containing dermis-like mesenchymal tissue failed and the control group 2 consisted of heat shocked SGCs was in a poor efficiency; by immunofluorescence staining and flow cytometry analysis, the expression of HFSCs special biomarkers was down regulated, instead of the positive efficiency of SGCs special antigens increased; besides, the induced SGCs displayed a high expression of ectodysplasin A (EDA) and ectodysplasin A receptor (EDAR) genes and proteins; after cell transplantation, the youngest SG-like structures formed and be positive in SGCs special antigens, which never happened in untreated wounds (P < 0.05).


The HFSCs are multipotential and capable in differentiating into SGCs which promise a potential stem cells reservoir for future use; our special co-culture microenvironment is promising for HFSCs differentiating; the induced SGCs are functional and could work well in the regeneration of SGs.

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