Interactions between epithelial and dermal cells are essential for hair follicle morphogenesis and maintenance. In experimental trials of hair regeneration, isolated dermal cells have been shown to possess hair-inducing capacity. However, dermal cells lose this potential immediately after cultivation. Sphere-forming multipotent cells derived from the dermis possess hair-inducing capacity. These previous findings raise the question of whether hair-inducing capacity depends on the identity as dermal cells or the process of sphere formation. To address this issue, we compared the in vitro and in vivo characteristics of two-dimensionally cultured or thereafter sphere formation-induced dermal and lung mesenchymal cells. We show that sphere-forming mesenchymal cells exhibited higher expression of Wnt signalling genes. Sphere-forming cells but not two-dimensionally cultured cells possessed in vivo hair-inducing capacity. These data suggest that various mesenchymal cells attain hair-inducing capacity through the process of sphere formation.
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.