Fully functional hair follicle regeneration through the rearrangement of stem cells and their niches
Koh-ei Toyoshima, Kyosuke Asakawa, Naoko Ishibashi, Hiroshi Toki, Miho Ogawa, Tomoko Hasegawa, Tarou Irié, Tetsuhiko Tachikawa, Akio Sato, Akira Takeda & Takashi Tsuji
Organ replacement regenerative therapy is purported to enable the replacement of organs damaged by disease, injury or aging in the foreseeable future. Here we demonstrate fully functional hair organ regeneration via the intracutaneous transplantation of a bioengineered pelage and vibrissa follicle germ. The pelage and vibrissae are reconstituted with embryonic skin-derived cells and adult vibrissa stem cell region-derived cells, respectively. The bioengineered hair follicle develops the correct structures and forms proper connections with surrounding host tissues such as the epidermis, arrector pili muscle and nerve fibres. The bioengineered follicles also show restored hair cycles and piloerection through the rearrangement of follicular stem cells and their niches. This study thus reveals the potential applications of adult tissue-derived follicular stem cells as a bioengineered organ replacement therapy..
As mentioned in the article, the researchers do not expect to be able to mutliply large numbers of follicles which would be necessary for those with male pattern baldness, but as technology improves, who knows?? It will be interesting to see where hair cloning research takes us in the future. --Dr. Alan Bauman