Plastic Surgery Research Council
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PSRC 60th Annual Meeting
Program and Abstracts

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Hair Follicle Specific ALK2/ACVR1 Critically Regulates Stem Cell Maintenance and Skin Development
Michael Sorkin, MD, Shailesh Agarwal, MD, Shawn Loder, BS, Cameron Brownley, BS, Kavitha Ranganathan, MD, Jon Li, MD, Shuli Li, PhD, Paul Cederna, MD, Benjamin Levi, MD.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

PURPOSE:
Hair follicle stem cells play a critical role in cutaneous wound healing by promoting re-epithelialization. Recent studies have indicated that bone morphogenic protein signaling (BMP) is intricately involved in the quiescence and regulation of these stem cells through activation of BMP receptors. Alterations in this process are known to result in impaired wound healing. Here, we utilize a novel mouse model with targeted overexpression of the BMP receptor ALK2/ACVR1 in hair follicle stem cells, to characterize its role in skin development and postnatal wound healing.
METHODS:
Skin samples were harvested from 3-week old NFATc1 promoter driven ALK2/ACVR1 overexpressing mice (NF) and respective littermate controls and subjected to histologic processing. Morphologic differences including hair follicle number and size were evaluated with H&E staining. ALK3 expression was localized with immunohistochemistry. Furthermore, hair follicle specific stem cell markers Itga6 and CD34 were quantified using flow cytometry.
RESULTS:
Histologic examination revealed significantly increased hair follicle number in the NF skin with altered morphology as evidenced by increased follicle size when compared to the control skin. While these were mainly localized in the dermis of control mice, NF skin demonstrated accumulation of follicles in the subcutaneous layer. Furthermore, prevalence of CD34 and ITGA6 positive follicle stem cells was significantly increased in the NF group. Interestingly, no difference was observed in the expression of ALK3
CONCLUSION:
In this study, we demonstrate that hair follicle specific ALK2 is intricately involved in maintenance of the stem cell niche and skin development. Further studies utilizing a wound healing model are currently underway to characterize the effect of ALK2 in this process.


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