Skin stem and progenitor cells: using regeneration as a tissue-engineering strategy.

UK Centre for Tissue Engineering, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, 3.239 Stopford Building, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PT, United Kingdom.
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS (Impact Factor: 5.86). 02/2008; 65(1):24-32. DOI: 10.1007/s00018-007-7427-x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cell plasticity and mesenchymal-epithelial interactions are regarded as a hallmark of embryonic development and are not believed to occur extensively in the adult. Recently, adult mesenchymal stem cells were reported to differentiate in culture into a variety of mature cell types, including epithelial cells. Progress in stem and progenitor cell biology and recognition of the unique properties of such cells may enable intelligent bioengineering design of replacement skin which allows regeneration to occur in vivo. Ideally, a scaffold-free environment which stimulates skin stem cells in situ to initiate cell signals that result in regeneration rather than scar formation is required. Various skin progenitor cell types are considered along with the signalling cascades that they affect. We also discuss a mammalian model of scar-free regeneration. Many of these mechanisms, if fully understood, could be harnessed after injury to perfectly restore the skin.

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