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J Cell Sci. 1998 Nov;111 ( Pt 21):3179-88.

The C8/144B monoclonal antibody recognizes cytokeratin 15 and defines the location of human hair follicle stem cells.

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University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Medicine and Dermatology, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Stem cells are vital for the homeostasis of self-renewing tissues such as the hair follicle. Epithelial stem cells have been implicated in tumorigenesis and wound healing, and their manipulation may have wide ranging applications including gene therapy and tissue transplantation. Rodent hair follicle stem cells have been localized to an area of the follicle called the bulge, however, the identification and characterization of human hair follicle stem cells has been hampered by a lack of cellular markers for this area. We have determined that the C8/144B monoclonal antibody, originally generated against a short intracytoplasmic peptide of CD8, preferentially immunostains hair follicle bulge keratinocytes without staining the remaining hair follicle. Using expression cloning, we identified cytokeratin 15 as the keratinocyte protein recognized by the C8/144B monoclonal antibody. By delineating the bulge using this antibody, we demonstrated that bulge cells possess a stem cell phenotype characterized by their slowly-cycling nature, preferential proliferation at the onset of new hair follicle growth, high level of beta1 integrin expression, and expression of cytokeratin 19.

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