Tissue engineering of human hair follicles using a biomimetic developmental approach

Hasan Erbil Abaci, Abigail Coffman, Yanne Doucet, James Chen, Joanna Jacków, Etienne Wang, Zongyou Guo, Jung U. Shin, Colin A. Jahoda, Angela M. Christiano*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Citations (Scopus)
103 Downloads (Pure)


Human skin constructs (HSCs) have the potential to provide an effective therapy for patients with significant skin injuries and to enable human-relevant drug screening for skin diseases; however, the incorporation of engineered skin appendages, such as hair follicles (HFs), into HSCs remains a major challenge. Here, we demonstrate a biomimetic approach for generation of human HFs within HSCs by recapitulating the physiological 3D organization of cells in the HF microenvironment using 3D-printed molds. Overexpression of Lef-1 in dermal papilla cells (DPC) restores the intact DPC transcriptional signature and significantly enhances the efficiency of HF differentiation in HSCs. Furthermore, vascularization of hair-bearing HSCs prior to engraftment allows for efficient human hair growth in immunodeficient mice. The ability to regenerate an entire HF from cultured human cells will have a transformative impact on the medical management of different types of alopecia, as well as chronic wounds, which represent major unmet medical needs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5301
Number of pages11
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Early online date13 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2018


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