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Stem Cells. 2018 Jan;36(1):22-35. doi: 10.1002/stem.2723. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

Concise Review: Wnt Signaling Pathways in Skin Development and Epidermal Stem Cells.

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de Duve Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.


Mammalian skin and its appendages constitute the integumentary system forming a barrier between the organism and its environment. During development, skin epidermal cells divide rapidly and stratify into a multilayered epithelium, as well as invaginate downward in the underlying mesenchyme to form hair follicles (HFs). In postnatal skin, the interfollicular epidermal (IFE) cells continuously proliferate and differentiate while HFs undergo cycles of regeneration. Epidermal regeneration is fueled by epidermal stem cells (SCs) located in the basal layer of the IFE and the outer layer of the bulge in the HF. Epidermal development and SC behavior are mainly regulated by various extrinsic cues, among which Wnt-dependent signaling pathways play crucial roles. This review not only summarizes the current knowledge of Wnt signaling pathways in the regulation of skin development and governance of SCs during tissue homeostasis, but also discusses the potential crosstalk of Wnt signaling with other pathways involved in these processes. Stem Cells 2018;36:22-35.


Epidermal stem cells; Hair follicle morphogenesis; Skin development; Wnt signaling

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