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Stem Cell Reports. 2013 Jun 4;1(1):38-45. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2013.04.004. eCollection 2013.

Sox2-mediated regulation of adult neural crest precursors and skin repair.

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Program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON M5G 1L7, Canada.


Nerve-derived neural crest cells are essential for regeneration in certain animals, such as newts. Here, we asked whether they play a similar role during mammalian tissue repair, focusing on Sox2-positive neural crest precursors in skin. In adult skin, Sox2 was expressed in nerve-terminal-associated neural crest precursor cells (NCPCs) around the hair follicle bulge, and following injury was induced in nerve-derived cells, likely dedifferentiated Schwann cell precursors. At later times postinjury, Sox2-positive cells were scattered throughout the regenerating dermis, and lineage tracing showed that these were all neural-crest-derived NCPCs. These Sox2-positive NCPCs were functionally important, since acute deletion of Sox2 prior to injury caused a decrease of NCPCs in the wound and aberrant skin repair. These data demonstrate that Sox2 regulates skin repair, likely by controlling NCPCs, and raise the possibility that nerve-derived NCPCs may play a general role in mammalian tissue repair.

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