Epithelial hair follicle stem cells (eHFSCs) are required to generate, maintain and renew the continuously cycling hair follicle (HF), supply cells that produce the keratinized hair shaft and aid in the reepithelialization of injured skin. Therefore, their study is biologically and clinically important, from alopecia to carcinogenesis and regenerative medicine. However, human eHFSCs remain ill defined compared to their murine counterparts, and it is unclear which murine eHFSC markers really apply to the human HF. We address this by reviewing current concepts on human eHFSC biology, their immediate progeny and their molecular markers, focusing on Keratin 15 and 19, CD200, CD34, PHLDA1, and EpCAM/Ber-EP4. After delineating how human eHFSCs may be selectively targeted experimentally, we close by defining as yet unmet key challenges in human eHFSC research. The ultimate goal is to transfer emerging concepts from murine epithelial stem cell biology to human HF physiology and pathology.
Keywords: CD200; CD34; K15; K19; PHLDA1; bulge; human hair follicle stem cells.
© 2014 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.