Monday, October 21, 2013

No sweat? Blame the sweat gland stem cells

Staining of slow-cycling sweat gland cells (green) with the protein laminin (red) and the fluorescent stain DAPI (blue)
Image by Yvonne Leung
Maybe it's all the running I've been doing, but the word "sweat" caught my eye in this story. Sweat, like everything else it seems, needs it's stem cells.

A group at the University of Southern California found a group of cells at the base of sweat glands in mice that appeared to behave like stem cells: they divide very slowly and when they do divide, create new cells to replenish the tissue.

The group put these cells on the skin of other mice, where they generated new sweat glands and also hair follicles. In other conditions the cells were able to repair wounds and create some layers of skin.

A press release about the work describes how it might be helpful in treating diseases in which people sweat either too much or too little:
This offers exciting possibilities for developing future stem cell-based treatments for skin and sweat gland-related conditions, such as hyperhidrosis or hypohidrosis (excessive or insufficient sweating). It could also lay the foundation for creating fully functional skin — containing both sweat glands and hair follicles — for burn victims.
 Amy Adams

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