Stem cell plasticity enables hair regeneration following Lgr5+ cell loss
© Chad Baker/Photodisc/Getty
Stem cells help repair damaged tissue, but researchers are only now beginning to understand how stem cells themselves recover from damage.
A team of scientists at Genentech turned to hair follicles for an answer. Hair follicles include two groups of stem cells, known as Lgr5 and CD34 cells, essential for normal hair growth. By studying mice that had been engineered so that the Lgr5 cells were sensitive to a specific toxin, the team could kill the Lgr5 stem cells and observe how the stem cell population regenerated, reviving hair growth.
Their observations revealed that after the toxin treatment and the death of Lgr5 cells, inflammatory response genes were switched on in CD34 cells, followed by developmental genes which then transformed some of the CD34 cells into Lgr5 cells.
More investigation is needed to learn whether similar regeneration processes occur in other stem cell populations throughout the body.
- Nature Cell Biology 19, 666-676 (2017). doi: 10.1038/ncb3535
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