Researchers say they have created the first hair-bearing human skin organoid made with pluripotent stem cells. The team published its research “Hair-bearing human skin generated entirely from pluripotent stem cells” in Nature.
The organoid’s development was led by Karl Koehler, PhD, formerly of Indiana University School of Medicine and now at Boston Children’s Hospital. An Oregon Health & Science University graduate student, Benjamin Woodruff, contributed by helping make the organoids as a post-baccalaureate research technician in the Stanford University lab of Stefan Heller, PhD.
“The skin is a multilayered organ, equipped with appendages (that is, follicles and glands), that is critical for regulating body temperature and the retention of bodily fluids, guarding against external stresses and mediating the sensation of touch and pain. Reconstructing appendage-bearing skin in cultures and in bioengineered grafts is a biomedical challenge that has yet to be met. Here we report an organoid culture system that generates complex skin from human pluripotent stem cells. We use stepwise modulation of the transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling pathways to co-induce cranial epithelial cells and neural crest cells within a spherical cell aggregate,” write the investigators.
“During an incubation period of 4–5 months, we observe the emergence of a cyst-like skin organoid composed of stratified epidermis, fat-rich dermis and pigmented hair follicles that are equipped with sebaceous glands. A network of sensory neurons and Schwann cells form nerve-like bundles that target Merkel cells in organoid hair follicles, mimicking the neural circuitry associated with