Human Epidermal Neural Crest Stem Cells hEPI-NCSC—Characterization and Directed Differentiation into Osteocytes and MelanocytesReport as inadecuate

Human Epidermal Neural Crest Stem Cells hEPI-NCSC—Characterization and Directed Differentiation into Osteocytes and Melanocytes - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

Stem Cell Reviews and Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 799–814

First Online: 01 April 2011


Here we describe the isolation, characterisation and ex-vivo expansion of human epidermal neural crest stem cells hEPI-NCSC and we provide protocols for their directed differentiation into osteocytes and melanocytes. hEPI-NCSC are neural crest-derived multipotent stem cells that persist into adulthood in the bulge of hair follicles. Multipotency and self-renewal were determined by in vitro clonal analyses. hEPI-NCSC generate all major neural crest derivatives, including bone-cartilage cells, neurons, Schwann cells, myofibroblasts and melanocytes. Furthermore, hEPI-NCSC express additional neural crest stem cell markers and global stem cell genes. To variable degrees and in a donor-dependent manner, hEPI-NCSC express the six essential pluripotency genes C-MYC, KLF4, SOX2, LIN28, OCT-4-POU5F1 and NANOG. hEPI-NCSC can be expanded ex vivo into millions of stem cells that remain mulitpotent and continue to express stem cell genes. The novelty of hEPI-NCSC lies in the combination of their highly desirable traits. hEPI-NCSC are embryonic remnants in a postnatal location, the bulge of hair follicles. Therefore they are readily accessible in the hairy skin by minimal invasive procedure. hEPI-NCSC are multipotent somatic stem cells that can be isolated reproducibly and with high yield. By taking advantage of their migratory ability, hEPI-NCSC can be isolated as a highly pure population of stem cells. hEPI-NCSC can undergo robust ex vivo expansion and directed differentiation. As somatic stem cells, hEPI-NCSC are conducive to autologous transplantation, which avoids graft rejection. Together, these traits make hEPI-NCSC novel and attractive candidates for future cell-based therapies and regenerative medicine.

KeywordsNeural crest Adult stem cell Human epidermal neural crest stem cell EPI-NCSC hEPI-NCSC Pluripotency Bone Melanocyte Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1007-s12015-011-9255-5 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Oliver Clewes - Alla Narytnyk - Kevin R. Gillinder - Andrew D. Loughney - Alison P. Murdoch - Maya Sieber-Blum


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