New research by the Tissue Biology Research Unit at the University Children’s Hospital in Zurich gives fresh insight into how our skin forms new layers. The researchers provided strong evidence that suprabasal keratinocytes can retro-differentiate into basal stem cells upon contact with the basement membrane and contribute in that way to the generation of new skin layers. The results go against the current notion that only basal keratinocytes can generate skin layers during wound healing or normal homeostasis.
In this study, Pontiggia et al. demonstrated that the proliferative activities of the two keratinocyte types are indistinguishable. Raman spectral analysis using the microphotonX Raman platform supports these findings. While basal and suprabasal keratinocytes are clearly distinguishable after isolation, the chemical composition of the two cell types equalizes in cell culture after 7 days. This means that both cell types can generate a fully stratified epidermis in a 3D cell culture model.