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Multipotent dermal stem cells, isolated from human foreskins, lacking hair follicles, are able to home to the epidermis to differentiate into melanocytes. These dermal stem cells, grown as three-dimensional spheres, displayed capacity for self-renewal and expressed NGFRp75, nestin and OCT4, but not melanocyte markers. In addition, cells derived from single cell clones were able to differentiate into multiple lineages including melanocytes. In a three-dimensional skin equivalent model, sphere-forming cells differentiated into HMB45-positive melanocytes that migrated from the dermis to the epidermis and aligned singly among the basal layer keratinocytes in a similar fashion to pigmented melanocytes isolated from the epidermis. The dermal stem cells were negative for E-cadherin and N-cadherin, while they acquired E-cadherin expression and lost NGFRp75 expression upon contact with epidermal keratinocytes.
Li, L., Fulunaga-Kalabis, M., Yu, H., Xu, X., Kong, J., Lee, J.T. Herlyn, M.: Human dermal stem cells differentiate into functional epidermal melanocytes. J Cell Sci 123: 853-860, 2010. PMID20159965 (PMC2831759)
Zabierowski, S.E., Fukunaga-Kalabis, M., Li, L., Herlyn, M.: Dermis-derived stem cells: A source of epidermal melanocytes and melanoma? Pigment Cell Melanoma Res 24: 422-429, 2011. PMID 21410654
Li, L., Fukunaga-Kalabis, M., Herlyn, M.: Isolation and cultivation of dermal stem cells that differentiate into functional melanocytes. In: Human cell culture protocols. Methods in Molecular Biology 806:15-29, 2012. PMID22057442
Cells that can transform to melanoma
NSCS = Neural crest stem cells
MC = Melanocytes
IMS = Induced multi-potent stem cells
The microscope in the image belonged to William E. Horner, M.D., a collaborator with Caspar Wistar, M.D., in the early 1800s.
Dr. Horner, a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, was a pioneer of the use of microscopes in anatomical and medical research. He authored Special Anatomy and Histology, a seminal text on the subject.