The Modulatable Stem Cell Niche: Tissue Interactions during Hair and Feather Follicle Regeneration

Chih Chiang Chen, Maksim V. Plikus, Pin Chi Tang, Randall B. Widelitz, Cheng Ming Chuong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Hair and feathers are unique because (1) their stem cells are contained within a follicle structure, (2) they undergo cyclic regeneration repetitively throughout life, (3) regeneration occurs physiologically in healthy individuals and (4) regeneration is also induced in responsee-adjacent micro-environmental niche, this niche is also modulated dynamically by extra-follicular macro-environmental signals, allowing stem cells to adapt to a larger changing environment and physiological needs. Here we review several examples of macro-environments that communicate with the follicles: intradermal adipose tissue, innate immune system, sex hormones, aging, circadian rhythm and seasonal rhythms. Related diseases are also discussed. Unveiling the mechanisms of how stem cell niches are modulated provides clues for regenerative medicine. Given that stem cells are hard to manipulate, focusing translational therapeutic applications at the environments appears to be a more practical approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1423-1440
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 10 Apr 2016


  • aging
  • circadian rhythm
  • immune response
  • quorum sensing
  • stem cell


Dive into the research topics of 'The Modulatable Stem Cell Niche: Tissue Interactions during Hair and Feather Follicle Regeneration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this