The epidermis is the outermost layer of mammalian skin and comprises a multilayered epithelium, the interfollicular epidermis, with associated hair follicles, sebaceous glands, and eccrine sweat glands. As in other epithelia, adult stem cells within the epidermis maintain tissue homeostasis and contribute to repair of tissue damage. The bulge of hair follicles, where DNA-label-retaining cells reside, was traditionally regarded as the sole epidermal stem cell compartment. However, in recent years multiple stem cell populations have been identified. In this review, we discuss the different stem cell compartments of adult murine and human epidermis, the markers that they express, and the assays that are used to characterize epidermal stem cell properties.
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