Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have identified two adult stem cell-like subpopulations in adult human skin. The findings, which were published in the study “Human Skin Cells That Express Stage-Specific Embryonic Antigen 3 Associate with Dermal Tissue Regeneration” (BioResearch Open Access, vol. 1, no. 1, www.liebertpub.com/biores), pertain to two subtypes of cells: SSEA3-expressing regeneration-associated (SERA) cells—which may play a role in the regeneration of human skin in response to injury, and mesenchymal adult stem cells (MSCs), currently under investigation for their ability to differentiate into three main types of cells; osteoblasts, chondrocytes and adipocytes. The cells were cultured using using technology developed by Fibrocell Science (www.fibrocellscience.com). Finding them within skin cell cultures points to a potentially new, less invasive avenue for stem cell harvesting. Current extraction methods include either bone marrow or adipose tissue extraction.
“Finding these rare adult stem cell-like subpopulations in human skin is an exciting discovery and provides the first step towards purifying and expanding these cells to clinically relevant numbers for application to a variety of potential personalized cellular therapies for osteoarthritis, bone loss, injury and/or damage to human skin as well as many other diseases,” said James A. Byrne, PhD, the study’s lead author and assistant professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the Eli and Edythe Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, UCLA.