Stem cell research

Stem cell & skin

Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. There are three major types of stem cells: embryonic, fetal and adult, and induced pluripotent stem cells. Each comes from different sources and has somewhat different properties (Figure 1). Each of them can serve as a sort of repair system for the body, and also can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain stem cells or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as muscle cells, red blood cells, or skin cells.

Figure 1. Stem cells derived from fertilized egg and their differentiation

The largest organ of the human body, skin contains stem cells to provide the defense system against infectious agents, dehydration and injury etc. Skin is exposed to chemicals and physical stresses every day. The epidermis and dermis tissues in skin need to be renewed constantly to keep our skin in healthy condition. Skin stem cells are responsible for constant regeneration of our skin and for healing wounds. So far, skin stem cells are identified several different types of stem cells, for example, epidermal stem cells, dermal stem cells, hair follicle stem cells, melanocyte stem cells, and adiposed-derived stem cells.