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Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today. 2014 Sep;102(3):221-6. doi: 10.1002/bdrc.21073. Epub 2014 Sep 16.

Human epidermal neural crest stem cells as candidates for cell-based therapies, disease modeling, and drug discovery.

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Institute of Genetic Medicine, Centre for Life, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3BZ, United Kingdom.


In this review article I explore the suitability of human epidermal neural crest stem cells (hEPI-NCSC) for translational medicine. hEPI-NCSC are multipotent somatic stem cells that are derived from the embryonic neural crest. hEPI-NCSC are located in the bulge of hair follicles where they persist postnatally and into adulthood. Because of their location in the hairy skin and their migratory behavior, hEPI-NCSC can be easily isolated as a highly pure population of stem cells without the need for purification. Furthermore they can be expanded ex vivo into millions of stem cells, they do not form tumors in vivo, and they can undergo directed differentiation into crest and noncrest-derived cell types of clinical relevance. Taken together, these characteristics make hEPI-NCSC attractive candidates for cell-based therapies, drug discovery, and disease modeling.


EPI-NCSC; Parkinson's disease; Schwann cells; dopaminergic neuron; hEPI-NCSC; neural crest; peripheral neuropathy; spinal cord injury

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