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J Biotechnol. 2011 Jan 27.
De novo formation and ultra-structural characterization of a fiber-producing human hair follicle equivalent in vitro.
Lindner G, Horland R, Wagner I, Ata B, Lauster R.
Across many tissues and organs, the ability to create an organoid, the smallest functional unit of an organ, in vitro is the key both to tissue engineering and preclinical testing regimes. The hair follicle is an organoid that has been much studied based on its ability to grow quickly and to regenerate after trauma. But hair follicle formation in vitro has been elusive. Replacing hair loss due to pattern baldness or more severe alopecia, including that induced by chemotherapy, remains a significant unmet medical need. By carefully analyzing and recapitulating the growth conditions of hair follicle formation, we recreated human hair follicles in tissue culture that were capable of producing hair. Our microfollicles contained all relevant cell types and their structure and orientation resembled in some ways excised hair follicle specimens from human skin. This finding offers a new window onto hair follicle development. Having a robust culture system for hair follicles is an important step towards improved hair regeneration as well as to an understanding of how marketed drugs or drug candidates, including cancer chemotherapy, will affect this important organ.
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