(Philadelphia, PA) -Hair follicle stem cells are important contributors to the wound-healing process, according to new research by investigators at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Using an animal model, the researchers discovered that stem cells in the hair follicle are enlisted to help heal wounds in the skin. This finding, published online in Nature Medicine last week, may suggest a therapeutic target for the development of drugs to encourage and promote wound healing.
Wounds, including skin ulcers and other dermatological problems associated with diabetes, circulatory problems, and other diseases, are a growing medical problem in the United States, notes senior author George Cotsarelis, MD, Associate Professor of Dermatology. Previous work by the Penn research team had outlined the hair-growth process to show that stem cells in the hair follicle "bulge" area generate new lower hair follicles, which in turn, generate new hair. Their latest finding-that these same stem cells play a key role in initiating wound healing-will help lay the foundation for designing more effective wound-healing strategies.
Even minor wounding resulted in mobilization of follicle stem cells to generate daughter cells that quickly move into the wound area. "About one-third of the coverage of the wound came from the stem cells in the hair follicle," says Cotsarelis. "In the future, we think that we will be able to design treatments that enhance the flow of cells from the hair follicle to the epidermis in the hope of enhancing wound healing and treating patients with wounds."
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Clinicians have known for some time that when the skin is abraded new cells come from the hair follicle. What remained a mystery was the exact nature of the origins of the new cells-specifically, what percentage stems from the deep follicle and what percentage from the epidermis near the wound.
Cotsarelis' team found tPage: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Karen Kreeger
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
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