Little is published on the characterization and therapeutic potential of human mesenchymal cells derived from hair follicle (HF) dermal sheath (DS). In this study, we isolated and characterized HF DS-mesenchymal stromal cells (DS-MSCs) with respect to the bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (BM-MSCs). We further tested if DS-MSC-conditioned medium (CM), like what was previously reported for BM-MSC CM, has superior wound-healing properties, in both in vitro and in vivo wound models compared with skin fibroblast CM.
DS-MSCs were isolated from HF and cultured in vitro to assess long-term growth potential, colony-forming efficiency (CFE), expression of CD surface markers and differentiation potential. The cytokine expression of DS-MSC CM was determined through an antibody-based protein array analysis. The wound-healing effects of the CM were tested in vitro with the use of human cell cultures and in vivo with the use of a diabetic mouse wound model.
In vitro results revealed that DS-MSCs have high growth capacity and CFE while displaying some phenotypes similar to BM-MSCs. DS-MSCs strongly expressed many surface markers expressed in BM-MSCs and could also differentiate into osteoblasts, chondrocytes and adipocytes. DS-MSCs secreted significantly higher proportions of paracrine factors such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8 and growth-related oncogene. DS-MSC-CM demonstrated enhanced wound-healing effects on human skin keratinocytes, fibroblasts and endothelial cells in vitro, and the wound-healing time in diabetic mice was found to be shorter, compared with vehicle controls.
Human HF DS stromal cells demonstrated MSC-like properties and might be an alternative source for therapeutic use in wound healing.