Towards the development of a pragmatic technique for isolating and differentiating nestin-positive cells from human scalp skin into neuronal and glial cell populations: generating neurons from human skin?

Exp Dermatol. 2006 Oct;15(10):794-800. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2006.00471.x.


Nestin+ hair follicle-associated cells of murine skin can be isolated and differentiated in vitro into neuronal and glial cells. Therefore, we have asked whether human skin also contains nestin+ cells, and whether these can be differentiated in vitro into neuronal and/or glial cell populations. In this methodological pilot study, we show that both are indeed the case - employing purposely only very simple techniques for isolating, propagating, and differentiating nestin+ cells from normal human scalp skin and its appendages that do not require selective microdissection and tissue compartment isolation prior to cell culture. We show that, it is in principle, possible to maintain and propagate human skin nestin+ cells for extended passage numbers and to differentiate them into both neuronal (i.e. neurofilament+ and/or PGP9.5+) and glial (i.e. GFAP+, MBP+ and/or O4+) cell populations. Therefore, human scalp skin can serve as a highly accessible, abundant, and convenient source for autologous adult stem cell-like cells that offer themselves to be exploited for neuroregenerative medicine purposes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Separation / economics
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nestin
  • Neuroglia / cytology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Scalp / cytology
  • Scalp / metabolism
  • Skin / cytology*
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Stem Cells / cytology


  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • NES protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nestin