Neural crest-derived cells with stem cell features can be traced back to multiple lineages in the adult skin
Given their accessibility, multipotent skin-derived cells might be useful for future cell replacement therapies. We describe the isolation of multipotent stem cell-like cells from the adult trunk skin of mice and humans that express the neural crest stem cell markers p75 and Sox10 and display extensive self-renewal capacity in sphere cultures. To determine the origin of these cells, we genetically mapped the fate of neural crest cells in face and trunk skin of mouse. In whisker follicles of the face, many mesenchymal structures are neural crest derived and appear to contain cells with sphere-forming potential. In the trunk skin, however, sphere-forming neural crest-derived cells are restricted to the glial and melanocyte lineages. Thus, self-renewing cells in the adult skin can be obtained from several neural crest derivatives, and these are of distinct nature in face and trunk skin. These findings are relevant for the design of therapeutic strategies because the potential of stem and progenitor cells in vivo likely depends on their nature and origin.