Epidermal stem cells are retained in vivo throughout skin aging

Aging Cell. 2008 Mar;7(2):250-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2008.00372.x. Epub 2008 Jan 21.


In healthy individuals, skin integrity is maintained by epidermal stem cells which self-renew and generate daughter cells that undergo terminal differentiation. It is currently unknown whether epidermal stem cells influence or are affected by skin aging. We therefore compared young and aged skin stem cell abundance, organization, and proliferation. We discovered that despite age-associated differences in epidermal proliferation, dermal thickness, follicle patterning, and immune cell abundance, epidermal stem cells were maintained at normal levels throughout life. These findings, coupled with observed dermal gene expression changes, suggest that epidermal stem cells themselves are intrinsically aging resistant and that local environmental or systemic factors modulate skin aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Causality
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Dermis / anatomy & histology
  • Dermis / physiology
  • Epidermal Cells*
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Hair Follicle / physiology
  • Keratins / analysis
  • Keratins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Skin Aging / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism


  • Keratins