The Rise of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Approach to Hair Restoration : Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

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Science of Aging, Part 2: Original Articles

The Rise of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Approach to Hair Restoration

Pinto, Antonella PhD; Terskikh, Alexey V. PhD

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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 148(6S):p 39S-46S, December 2021. | DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000008785



The advent of pluripotent stem cells following the discovery of Shinya Yamanaka (2012 Nobel prize in Medicine) brought about a regenerative medicine approach to virtually every human condition including hair loss. It is now possible to reprogram somatic cells (eg, blood or skin cells) from a person experiencing hair loss to generate autologous induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which could be amplified and cryopreserved. Subsequently, these iPSCs could be differentiated into various cell types such as dermal papilla cells, epithelial cells, melanocytes, and other cell types constituting functional hair follicle. Transplantation of human iPSC-derived folliculogenic cells into the nude mice has successfully generated xenografts with hair outgrowth. Because iPSCs provide a virtually unlimited source of folliculogenic cells for de novo formation of hair follicles, this approach has major advantages over current surgical hair restoration procedures, which merely redistribute existing hair follicles from one part of the sculp to another. Combined with robotics and automation of the transplantation process, this novel regenerative medicine approach is well poised to make hair restoration a routine procedure affordable for everybody who can benefit from it.

Copyright © 2021 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

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