• Open Access

Telocytes in human skin – are they involved in skin regeneration?

Authors

  • Laura Ceafalan,

    1. Molecular Medicine Laboratory, “V. Babeş” National Institute of Pathology, Bucharest, Romania
    2. Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania
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  • Mihaela Gherghiceanu,

    1. Department of Advanced Studies, “V. Babeş” National Institute of Pathology, Bucharest, Romania
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  • L. M. Popescu,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Advanced Studies, “V. Babeş” National Institute of Pathology, Bucharest, Romania
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  • Olga Simionescu

    1. Department of Dermatology, Colentina University Hospital, “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania
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Correspondence to: L. M. POPESCU, M.D., Ph.D.,

Department of Advanced Studies, “V. Babeş” National Institute of Pathology, Bucharest, Romania.

E-mail: lmp@jcmm.org

Olga SIMIONESCU, M.D., Ph.D.,

1st Clinic of Dermatology, Carol Davila

University of Medicine and Pharmacy Colentina Hospital,

19-21 Stefan cel Mare Road, 020125 Bucharest, Romania.

Tel: +40740-614-342, +4021-410-84-87

Fax: +4031-417-56-72

E-mail: olgadana@yahoo.com

Abstract

Telocytes (TCs), a particular interstitial cell type, have been recently described in a wide variety of mammalian organs (www.telocytes.com). The TCs are identified morphologically by a small cell body and extremely long (tens to hundreds of μm), thin prolongations (less than 100 nm in diameter, below the resolving power of light microscopy) called telopodes. Here, we demonstrated with electron microscopy and immunofluorescence that TCs were present in human dermis. In particular, TCs were found in the reticular dermis, around blood vessels, in the perifollicular sheath, outside the glassy membrane and surrounding sebaceous glands, arrector pili muscles and both the secretory and excretory portions of eccrine sweat glands. Immunofluorescence screening and laser scanning confocal microscopy showed two subpopulations of dermal TCs; one expressed c-kit/CD117 and the other was positive for CD34. Both subpopulations were also positive for vimentin. The TCs were connected to each other by homocellular junctions, and they formed an interstitial 3D network. We also found TCs adjoined to stem cells in the bulge region of hair follicles. Moreover, TCs established atypical heterocellular junctions with stem cells (clusters of undifferentiated cells). Given the frequency of allergic skin pathologies, we would like to emphasize the finding that close, planar junctions were frequently observed between TCs and mast cells. In conclusion, based on TC distribution and intercellular connections, our results suggested that TCs might be involved in skin homeostasis, skin remodelling, skin regeneration and skin repair.

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