Enrichment of oral mucosa and skin keratinocyte progenitor/stem cells

Methods Mol Biol. 2013;989:293-303. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-330-5_23.


The isolation of human oral mucosa/skin keratinocytes progenitor/stem cells is clinically important to regenerate epithelial tissues for the treatment of oral mucosa/skin defects. Researchers have attempted to isolate a keratinocyte progenitor/stem cell population using cell markers, rapid adherence to collagen type IV, and other methods. In this regard, one of the specific characteristics of keratinocyte progenitor/stem cells is that these cells have a smaller diameter than differentiated cells. This chapter describes methods used in our laboratory to set up primary human oral mucosa and skin keratinocytes in a chemically defined culture system devoid of animal derived products. We utilized the cells in a FDA-approved human clinical trial that involved the intraoral grafting of an ex vivo produced oral mucosa equivalent to increase keratinized tissue around teeth. We also provide two protocols on how to sort keratinocytes using physical criterion, cell size, using a cell sorter and a serial filtration system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / cytology*
  • Mouth Mucosa / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*