Label-retaining cells reside in the bulge area of pilosebaceous unit: Implications for follicular stem cells, hair cycle, and skin carcinogenesis

George Cotsarelis*, Tung Tien Sun, Robert M. Lavker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1725 Scopus citations

Abstract

Inconsistent with the view that hair follicle stem cells reside in the matrix area of the hair bulb, we found that label-retaining cells exist exclusively in the bulge area of the mouse hair follicle. The bulge consists of a subpopulation of outer root sheath cells located in the midportion of the tollicle at the arrector pili muscle attachment site. Keratinocytes in the bulge area are relatively undifferentiated ultrastructurally. They are normally slow cycling, but can be stimulated to proliferate transiently by TPA. Located in a well-protected and nourished environment, these cells mark the lower end of the "permanent" portion of the follicle. Our findings, plus a reevaluation of the literature, suggest that follicular stem cells reside in the bulge region, instead of the lower bulb. This new view provides insights into hair cycle control and the possible involvement of hair follicle stem cells in skin carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1329-1337
Number of pages9
JournalCell
Volume61
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 29 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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