The Basement Membrane of Hair Follicle Stem Cells Is a Muscle Cell Niche

Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute, Li Ka Shing Centre, UK.
Cell (Impact Factor: 32.24). 02/2011; 144(4):577-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.01.014
Source: PubMed


The hair follicle bulge in the epidermis associates with the arrector pili muscle (APM) that is responsible for piloerection ("goosebumps"). We show that stem cells in the bulge deposit nephronectin into the underlying basement membrane, thus regulating the adhesion of mesenchymal cells expressing the nephronectin receptor, α8β1 integrin, to the bulge. Nephronectin induces α8 integrin-positive mesenchymal cells to upregulate smooth muscle markers. In nephronectin knockout mice, fewer arrector pili muscles form in the skin, and they attach to the follicle above the bulge, where there is compensatory upregulation of the nephronectin family member EGFL6. Deletion of α8 integrin also abolishes selective APM anchorage to the bulge. Nephronectin is a Wnt target; epidermal β-catenin activation upregulates epidermal nephronectin and dermal α8 integrin expression. Thus, bulge stem cells, via nephronectin expression, create a smooth muscle cell niche and act as tendon cells for the APM. Our results reveal a functional role for basement membrane heterogeneity in tissue patterning. PAPERCLIP:

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    • "These cells are known to highly express periostin, which is a major component of the tendon extracellular matrix (ECM). Accordingly it has been concluded that bulge stem cells serve as tendon cells for the APM.[7] "
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    ABSTRACT: The arrector pili muscle (APM) consists of a small band of smooth muscle that connects the hair follicle to the connective tissue of the basement membrane. The APM mediates thermoregulation by contracting to increase air-trapping, but was thought to be vestigial in humans. The APM attaches proximally to the hair follicle at the bulge, a known stem cell niche. Recent studies have been directed toward this muscle's possible role in maintaining the follicular integrity and stability. This review summarizes APM anatomy and physiology and then discusses the relationship between the follicular unit and the APM. The potential role of the APM in hair loss disorders is also described, and a model explaining APM changes in hair loss is proposed.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · International Journal of Trichology
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    • "As cells in the HG proliferate to promote hair growth, bulge SCs divide to replenish the follicular SC pool (Zhang et al. 2009). To regulate their activity, follicle cells receive signals from surrounding dermal cells, including those in the dermal papilla (DP), a mesenchymal compartment associated with the HF (Greco et al. 2009; Rompolas et al. 2012; Chi et al. 2013); neurons (Brownell et al. 2011); smooth muscle cells (Fujiwara et al. 2011); Ó 2014 Goldstein et al. This article is distributed exclusively by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the first six months after the full-issue publication date (see "
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    ABSTRACT: In most tissues, the prevailing view is that stem cell (SC) niches are generated by signals from within the nearby tissue environment. Here, we define genetic changes altered in hair follicle (HF) SCs in mice treated with a potent SC activator, cyclosporine A (CSA), which inhibits the phosphatase calcineurin (CN) and the activity of the transcription factor nuclear factor of activated T cells c1 (Nfatc1). We show that CN/Nfatc1 regulates expression of prolactin receptor (Prlr) and that canonical activation of Prlr and its downstream signaling via Jak/Stat5 drives quiescence of HF SCs during pregnancy and lactation, when serum prolactin (Prl) levels are highly elevated. Using Prl injections and genetic/pharmacological loss-of-function experiments in mice, we show that Prl signaling stalls follicular SC activation through its activity in the skin epithelium. Our findings define a unique CN-Nfatc1-Prlr-Stat5 molecular circuitry that promotes persistent SC quiescence in the skin.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Genes & development
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    • "ß1 integrin signaling has long been thought to be important in murine epidermal and HF epithelial SCs (eSCs) [15–17]. In the HF, eSCs and partially differentiated epithelial progenitor cells (ePCs) can give rise to all epithelial cell types of the hair, the epidermis, and the sebaceous gland and are mostly found within the HF bulge [18–20]. The eSCs within this HF compartment [16,21] are slow-cycling, and show clonogenicity and proliferative capacity [22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: β1 integrin regulates multiple epithelial cell functions by connecting cells with the extracellular matrix (ECM). While β1 integrin-mediated signaling in murine epithelial stem cells is well-studied, its role in human adult epithelial progenitor cells (ePCs) in situ remains to be defined. Using microdissected, organ-cultured human scalp hair follicles (HFs) as a clinically relevant model for studying human ePCs within their natural topobiological habitat, β1 integrin-mediated signaling in ePC biology was explored by β1 integrin siRNA silencing, specific β1 integrin-binding antibodies and pharmacological inhibition of integrin-linked kinase (ILK), a key component of the integrin-induced signaling cascade. β1 integrin knock down reduced keratin 15 (K15) expression as well as the proliferation of outer root sheath keratinocytes (ORSKs). Embedding of HF epithelium into an ECM rich in β1 integrin ligands that mimic the HF mesenchyme significantly enhanced proliferation and migration of ORSKs, while K15 and CD200 gene and protein expression were inhibited. Employing ECM-embedded β1 integrin-activating or -inhibiting antibodies allowed to identify functionally distinct human ePC subpopulations in different compartments of the HF epithelium. The β1 integrin-inhibitory antibody reduced β1 integrin expression in situ and selectively enhanced proliferation of bulge ePCs, while the β1 integrin-stimulating antibody decreased hair matrix keratinocyte apoptosis and enhanced transferrin receptor (CD71) immunoreactivity, a marker of transit amplifying cells, but did not affect bulge ePC proliferation. That the putative ILK inhibitor QLT0267 significantly reduced ORSK migration and proliferation and induced massive ORSK apoptosis suggests a key role for ILK in mediating the ß1 integrin effects. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that ePCs in human HFs require β1 integrin-mediated signaling for survival, adhesion, and migration, and that different human HF ePC subpopulations differ in their response to β1 integrin signaling. These insights may be exploited for cell-based regenerative medicine strategies that employ human HF-derived ePCs.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · PLoS ONE
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