Maintenance of distinct melanocyte populations in the interfollicular epidermis

James D. Glover, Stefan Knolle, Kirsty L. Wells, Dianbo Liu, Ian J. Jackson, Richard L. Mort (Lead / Corresponding author), Denis J. Headon (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    Hair follicles and sweat glands are recognized as reservoirs of melanocyte stem cells (MSCs). Unlike differentiated melanocytes, undifferentiated MSCs do not produce melanin. They serve as a source of differentiated melanocytes for the hair follicle and contribute to the interfollicular epidermis upon wounding, exposure to ultraviolet irradiation or in remission from vitiligo, where repigmentation often spreads outwards from the hair follicles. It is unknown whether these observations reflect the normal homoeostatic mechanism of melanocyte renewal or whether unperturbed interfollicular epidermis can maintain a melanocyte population that is independent of the skin's appendages. Here, we show that mouse tail skin lacking appendages does maintain a stable melanocyte number, including a low frequency of amelanotic melanocytes, into adult life. Furthermore, we show that actively cycling differentiated melanocytes are present in postnatal skin, indicating that amelanotic melanocytes are not uniquely relied on for melanocyte homoeostasis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)476-480
    Number of pages5
    JournalPigment Cell and Melanoma Research
    Issue number4
    Early online date30 Apr 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


    • Epidermis
    • Hair follicle
    • Interfollicular
    • Melanocyte
    • Stem cell

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Dermatology
    • Oncology
    • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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