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Skin cells on a woman's face

Epidermal Cells – Our First Line of Defense — and Recent Studies

The skin is a multi-layered organ that covers the entire body and serves as a barrier to the outside environment. The outermost layer is called the epidermis and is composed largely of keratinocytes, which function to provide a barrier to pathogens, temperature, UV radiation, and other damaging environmental factors.

Also contained in the epidermis are melanocytes, specialized cells that provide the skin’s pigment, and the cell type in which melanoma arises. Below the epidermis, the dermis contains connective tissue that houses hair follicles, sweat glands, and mechanoreceptors that sense pressure and mediate the sensations of touch and pain. Below the dermis is the hypodermis, which is composed of fat, blood vessels, and connective tissue.

Studies using Lifeline® epidermal cells

Hopkin et al. explored the regulatory programs that drive epidermal differentiation. Previous work has established that the chromatin modifying polycomb group proteins (PcG) are crucial in maintaining the progenitor state through repression of differentiation-associated genes. The action of Trithorax group proteins (trxG) antagonizes the effects of PcG and induces differentiation by activating genes that initiate differentiation. The authors demonstrate that in addition to their antagonistic actions on PcG-regulated genes, trxG regulates gene expression independently of PcG-repressed genes. Therefore, trxG activates PcG-repressed genes, as well as genes not regulated by PcG, to induce epidermal differentiation. The authors used Lifeline® Neonatal Human Epidermal Keratinocytes (NHEKs) grown in Dermalife medium throughout their study. They induced NHEKs to differentiate by adding calcium to the medium, an established model of keratinocyte differentiation.]

Ucar et al. set out to investigate the anti-neoplastic effects of a small molecule compound, INT2-31, on melanoma cells. INT2-31 was previously discovered as a compound that disrupts the interaction between FAK, a non-receptor tyrosine kinase that mediates cell migration, adhesion, and pro-survival pathways, and IGF-1R, a receptor tyrosine kinase that initiates growth and survival pathways. Importantly, FAK and IGF-1R expression are prognostic indicators in human melanoma, where higher expression correlates with tumor progression. The researchers treated human melanoma cells with INT2-31, and using multiple assays, determined that INT2-31 disrupts FAK-IGF-1R interactions, kills melanoma cells in vitro, and decreases melanoma xenograft tumor growth. Their results suggest that INT2-31 may represent a therapeutic opportunity for human melanoma. The authors used Lifeline® Melanocytes as control cells for their experiments to illustrate that INT2-31 had a more significant effect on melanoma cells than normal melanocytes. ]

Davis et al. report the development of a synthetic polymer-based hydrogel, which can be used for multiple research applications, including tissue engineering. Here, the researchers engineered a recombinant protein polymer network that could be crosslinked to form a hydrogel; transglutaminase enzymes catalyze this crosslinking reaction. Importantly, the group found that human transglutaminase could crosslink as well as guinea pig transglutaminase, suggesting that this type of hydrogel might be acceptable for use in human therapies without provoking a significant immune response. Additionally, cells grown on top and within the hydrogel displayed >95% viability, suggesting the hydrogel was sufficient for cell growth. Together, their results demonstrate that their hydrogel efficiently mimics the extracellular environment, providing a useful biomaterial for in situ research applications. The researchers used Lifeline® normal primary Human Dermal Fibroblasts grown in Fibrolife® S2 culture medium to test their hydrogel and found cells tolerated it well, with no significant loss of viability.

Lifeline® Skin Cells

Lifeline® carries multiple skin cell types for your research needs, including:

Lifeine® also provides cell culture media for optimal growth:

Lifeline® skin cell types can be used for:

  • Studies of normal epidermal cell physiology
  • Normal control cells for melanoma studies
  • Normal control cells to investigate therapeutic strategies against melanoma

Let us know how you are using Lifeline® cells to answer your research questions and your study could be featured here!


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