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Stem Cells International
Volume 2018, Article ID 8631432, 14 pages
Research Article

Hair Follicle Dermal Cells Support Expansion of Murine and Human Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and Promote Haematopoiesis in Mouse Cultures

1Department of Biosciences, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
2Department of Dermatology, Columbia University, 1150 St Nicholas Avenue, New York, NY 10032, USA
3Institute of Human Genetics, International Centre for Life, Newcastle University, Central Parkway, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3BZ, UK

Correspondence should be addressed to Colin A. B. Jahoda;

Received 30 December 2017; Accepted 26 April 2018; Published 2 August 2018

Academic Editor: Shibashish Giri

Copyright © 2018 Jun Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the hair follicle, the dermal papilla (DP) and dermal sheath (DS) support and maintain proliferation and differentiation of the epithelial stem cells that produce the hair fibre. In view of their regulatory properties, in this study, we investigated the interaction between hair follicle dermal cells (DP and DS) and embryonic stem cells (ESCs); induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs); and haematopoietic stem cells. We found that coculture of follicular dermal cells with ESCs or iPSCs supported their prolonged maintenance in an apparently undifferentiated state as established by differentiation assays, immunocytochemistry, and RT-PCR for markers of undifferentiated ESCs. We further showed that cytokines that are involved in ESC support are also expressed by cultured follicle dermal cells, providing a possible explanation for maintenance of ES cell stemness in cocultures. The same cytokines were expressed within follicles in situ in a pattern more consistent with a role in follicle growth activities than stem cell maintenance. Finally, we show that cultured mouse follicle dermal cells provide good stromal support for haematopoiesis in an established coculture model. Human follicular dermal cells represent an accessible and readily propagated source of feeder cells for pluripotent and haematopoietic cells and have potential for use in clinical applications.