Oral Presentation 2015 Annual Meeting of the Australasian Society for Dermatology Research

Epidermal cells expressing stem cell markers in non-glabrous skin exist exclusively in direct connection with the distal end of the arrector pili muscle (#15)

Niloufar Torkamani 1 , Nicholas Rufaut 1 2 , Leslie Jones 2 3 , Rod Sinclair 1 2 3
  1. Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  2. Sinclair Dermatology, Melbourne
  3. Epworth Hospital, Dermatology research laboratory, Melbourne, Vic, Melbourne

Hair follicle stem cells are located in a niche at the proximal end of the arrector pili muscle (APM). We investigated the association between interfollicular epidermis stem cells with the distal ends of the APM. The distal tips of the APM in dorsal mouse skin were identified α5 integrin and phalloidin staining. Stem cells were marked by immunofluorescent staining for cytokeratin 15 (K15), melanoma-associated chondroitin sulfate (MCSP) and α6 integrin. The three stem cell markers were restricted to basal keratinocytes, mostly near an attachment site of APM to the epidermal basement membrane. 97.9% of K15-positive cells, 83.1% of MCSP-positive cells and 74.2% of α6 integrin-positive cells were located in the vicinity of an APM tip. Associations between the positions of stem cell markers and APM tips were statistically significant. The three stem cell markers also showed significant co-localization with each other.The distal APM may contribute to the formation of a niche for epidermal stem cells, as the proximal muscle does for follicular stem cells. Signals from the APM may contribute to the regulation of both stem cell populations. The APM may be involved in epidermal renewal, homeostasis, and in wound healing, in addition to its recognized function in piloerection.