A dermal niche for multipotent adult skin-derived precursor cells

Karl J L Fernandes, Ian A McKenzie, Pleasantine Mill, Kristen M Smith, Mahnaz Akhavan, Fanie Barnabé-Heider, Jeff Biernaskie, Adrienne Junek, Nao R Kobayashi, Jean G Toma, David R Kaplan, Patricia A Labosky, Victor Rafuse, Chi-Chung Hui, Freda D Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A fundamental question in stem cell research is whether cultured multipotent adult stem cells represent endogenous multipotent precursor cells. Here we address this question, focusing on SKPs, a cultured adult stem cell from the dermis that generates both neural and mesodermal progeny. We show that SKPs derive from endogenous adult dermal precursors that exhibit properties similar to embryonic neural-crest stem cells. We demonstrate that these endogenous SKPs can first be isolated from skin during embryogenesis and that they persist into adulthood, with a niche in the papillae of hair and whisker follicles. Furthermore, lineage analysis indicates that both hair and whisker follicle dermal papillae contain neural-crest-derived cells, and that SKPs from the whisker pad are of neural-crest origin. We propose that SKPs represent an endogenous embryonic precursor cell that arises in peripheral tissues such as skin during development and maintains multipotency into adulthood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1082-93
Number of pages12
JournalNature Cell Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chick Embryo
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Embryonic Development
  • Hair
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Skin
  • Stem Cells


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