April 24, 2024

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Where do hair follicle stem cells originate from?

Where do hair follicle stem cells originate from?


Where do hair follicle stem cells originate from?

In a new study, researchers from RIKEN explain the origin and development of various hair follicle cells, including adult hair follicle stem cells, by providing a dynamic four-dimensional map to The process of hair follicle development is unraveled. Related research results were recently published in the journal Nature, titled ” Tracing the origin of hair follicle stem cells”.

The corresponding author of the paper is Dr. Hironobu Fujiwara from the Biosystem Dynamics Research Center of RIKEN.



Where do hair follicle stem cells originate from?




Like other adult tissues in our body, hair follicles are regenerated by adult tissue stem cells (i.e. follicle stem cells).

But the developmental origin of hair follicle stem cells has been largely unexplored because of the lack of markers to identify and track each cell lineage.


In the new study, Fujiwara and his research team overcame this problem. The team cultured skin samples taken from mouse embryos outside the body to create time-lapse videos of hair follicle development over several days.

Playing the videos in reverse allowed them to retrace the fate of cells in developed hair follicles and back to their earliest origins.


Fujiwara’s team saw something akin to a dartboard. Cells in the primitive follicular epithelium, called the placode, are arranged in a concentric fashion according to their future fate.

Cells in the center of the circle form the base of the follicle, while cells on the outer edge rest on the surface of the skin.


They also performed single-cell gene expression analysis at different time points in hair follicle development and reconstructed cell lineage information.

This analysis is consistent with the imaging data and strengthens the idea that hair follicle stem cells originate from a specific region of the outer ring of the early placode.


Proliferation of multiple cell types results in the transformation of two-dimensional concentric rings on the substrate into a series of cylindrical compartments arranged like components of a retractable telescope, leading these authors to refer to this developmental process as the telescope model ( telescope model).



Where do hair follicle stem cells originate from?Hair follicles grow outward like retractable antennae, photo by Tomo Narashima.


A similar phenomenon also explains the formation of legs, antennae and other cylindrical appendages in insects such as fruit flies. Thus, this telescopic model may represent a broader evolutionarily conserved developmental mechanism, although it remains to be seen whether other mammalian structures emerge in this way. “It hasn’t been properly studied, which makes it an important question for future research,” Fujiwara said.


“This study provides a roadmap of normal hair follicle development, detailing cellular dynamics and gene expression changes across cell lineages,” Fujiwara said.


Ritsuko Morita, first author of the paper, added, “By comparing this roadmap with cases of congenital hair loss disorders, it may be possible to pinpoint exactly where abnormalities arise. These findings may help drug developers design new treatments.” to combat baldness and other types of hair loss.”






Ritsuko Morita et al. Tracing the origin of hair follicle stem cells . Nature, 2021, doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03638-5.

Where do hair follicle stem cells originate from?

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