Boundary Caps Give Rise to Neurogenic Stem Cells and Terminal Glia in the Skin

Stem Cell Reports. 2015 Aug 11;5(2):278-90. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2015.06.005. Epub 2015 Jul 23.


While neurogenic stem cells have been identified in rodent and human skin, their manipulation and further characterization are hampered by a lack of specific markers. Here, we perform genetic tracing of the progeny of boundary cap (BC) cells, a neural-crest-derived cell population localized at peripheral nerve entry/exit points. We show that BC derivatives migrate along peripheral nerves to reach the skin, where they give rise to terminal glia associated with dermal nerve endings. Dermal BC derivatives also include cells that self-renew in sphere culture and have broad in vitro differentiation potential. Upon transplantation into adult mouse dorsal root ganglia, skin BC derivatives efficiently differentiate into various types of mature sensory neurons. Together, this work establishes the embryonic origin, pathway of migration, and in vivo neurogenic potential of a major component of skin stem-like cells. It provides genetic tools to study and manipulate this population of high interest for medical applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Movement
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neural Stem Cells / physiology
  • Neurogenesis*
  • Neuroglia / cytology*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / cytology
  • Skin / cytology*