Nail stem cells


  • Conflict of interest 

Klaus Sellheyer, MD, Clinical Professor of Dermatology, Department of Dermatology A61, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA. E-mail:


Our knowledge on stem cells of the hair follicle has increased exponentially after the bulge was characterized as the stem cell niche two decades ago. In contrast, little is known about stem cells in the nail unit. Whereas hair follicles are plentiful and easy to access, the human body has only twenty nails and they are rarely biopsied. Therefore, examining fetal material offers unique advantages. In the following mini-review, our current knowledge on nail stem cells is summarized and analogies to the hair follicle stem cells are drawn.