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Durham University

Department of Biosciences


Publication details for Prof CAB Jahoda

Higgins, C.A., Roger, M.F., Hill, R.P., Ali-Khan, A.S., Garlick, J.A., Christiano, A.M. & Jahoda, C.A.B. (2017). Multifaceted role of hair follicle dermal cells in bioengineered skins. British Journal of Dermatology 176(5): 1259-1269.

Author(s) from Durham


The method of generating bioengineered skin constructs was pioneered several decades ago; nowadays these constructs are used regularly for the treatment of severe burns and nonhealing wounds. Commonly, these constructs are comprised of skin fibroblasts within a collagen scaffold, forming the skin dermis, and stratified keratinocytes overlying this, forming the skin epidermis. In the past decade there has been a surge of interest in bioengineered skins, with researchers seeking alternative cell sources, or scaffolds, from which constructs can be established, and for more biomimetic equivalents with skin appendages.

To evaluate whether human hair follicle dermal cells can act as an alternative cell source for engineering the dermal component of engineered skin constructs.

We established in vitro skin constructs by incorporating into the collagenous dermal compartment: (i) primary interfollicular dermal fibroblasts, (ii) hair follicle dermal papilla cells or (iii) hair follicle dermal sheath cells. In vivo skins were established by mixing dermal cells and keratinocytes in chambers on top of immunologically compromised mice.

All fibroblast subtypes were capable of supporting growth of overlying epithelial cells, both in vitro and in vivo. However, we found hair follicle dermal sheath cells to be superior to fibroblasts in their capacity to influence the establishment of a basal lamina.

Human hair follicle dermal cells can be readily interchanged with interfollicular fibroblasts and used as an alternative cell source for establishing the dermal component of engineered skin both in vitro and in vivo.