Stem cells from hair follicles may help 'grow' new blood vessels

Mar 29, 2008

For a rich source of stem cells to be engineered into new blood vessels or skin tissue, clinicians may one day look no further than the hair on their patients’ heads, according to new research published earlier this month by University at Buffalo engineers.

“Engineering blood vessels for bypass surgery, promoting the formation of new blood vessels or regenerating new skin tissue using stem cells obtained from the most accessible source -- hair follicles -- is a real possibility,” said Stelios T. Andreadis, Ph.D., co-author of the paper in Cardiovascular Research and associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Researchers from other institutions previously had shown that hair follicles contain stem cells.

In the current paper, the UB researchers demonstrate that stem cells isolated from sheep hair follicles contain the smooth muscle cells that grow new vasculature. The group recently produced data showing that stem cells from human hair follicles also differentiate into contractile smooth muscle cells.

“We have demonstrated that engineered blood vessels prepared with smooth muscle progenitor cells from hair follicles are capable of dilating and constricting, critical properties that make them ideal for engineering cardiovascular tissue regeneration,” said Andreadis.

In addition to growing new skin for burn victims, cells from hair follicles could potentially be used to engineer vascular grafts and possibly regenerate cardiac tissues for patients with heart problems.

Since smooth muscle cells comprise the muscle of numerous tissues and organs, including the bladder, abdominal cavity and gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, this new, accessible source of cells may make possible future treatments that allow for the regeneration of these damaged organs as well.

Andreadis and his colleagues previously engineered functional and implantable blood vessels with smooth muscle and endothelial cells originating from bone-marrow mesenchymal stem cells.

A key advantage of mesenchymal cells is that they typically do not trigger an immune reaction when transplanted, he said.

“Preliminary experiments in our laboratory suggest an exciting possibility -- that stem cells from hair follicles may be similar to bone-marrow mesenchymal cells,” Andreadis said.

“The best case scenario is that from this one very accessible and highly proliferative source of stem cells, we will be able to obtain multiple different cell types that can be used for a broad range of applications in regenerative medicine,” he said.

Source: University at Buffalo

Explore further: Declining catch rates in Caribbean green turtle fishery may be result of overfishing

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Shining stem cells reveals how our skin is maintained

Aug 15, 2013

All organs in our body rely on stem cells in order to maintain their function. The skin is our largest organ and forms a shield against the environment. New research results from BRIC, University of Copenhagen ...

Recommended for you

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

9 hours ago

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

Men who show signs of chronic inflammation in non-cancerous prostate tissue may have nearly twice the risk of actually having prostate cancer than those with no inflammation, according to results of a new study led by researchers ...