Stem Cell Niches for Skin Regeneration
Stem cell-based therapies offer tremendous potential for skin regeneration following injury and disease. Functional stem cell units have been described throughout all layers of human skin and the collective physical and chemical microenvironmental cues that enable this regenerative potential are known as the stem cell niche. Stem cells in the hair follicle bulge, interfollicular epidermis, dermal papillae, and perivascular space have been closely investigated as model systems for niche-driven regeneration. These studies suggest that stem cell strategies for skin engineering must consider the intricate molecular and biologic features of these niches. Innovative biomaterial systems that successfully recapitulate these microenvironments will facilitate progenitor cell-mediated skin repair and regeneration.