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Follicular stem cells and their progeny are responsible for the cyclical renewal of hair follicles and maintenance of the hair coat. The understanding of pathways involved in this process is essential to elucidate the pathogenetic mechanisms of primary alopecia. Stem cells and their direct descendants are located in the bulge region of the isthmus of hair follicles. Although these cells have been studied extensively in mice and humans, data for canine isthmic keratinocyte activation and proliferation are not available.
The aim was to establish an accurate and reliable in vitro system to study the growth potential of canine isthmic keratinocytes. We assessed the colony-promoting capability of a commercially available canine-specific medium, CELLnTEC (CnT-09), compared with a well-established home-made medium, complete FAD (cFAD). The CnT-09 medium is specific for the growth of canine keratinocytes, while the cFAD medium can support growth and colony formation of keratinocytes from several species.
Skin biopsies were obtained from 15 recently euthanized dogs of various breeds with no skin abnormalities.
The isthmic region of compound hair follicles was isolated by microdissection and cell growth monitored using several parameters with colony-forming assays.
The CnT-09 and cFAD media provided similar growth as measured by the total number and size of colonies, as well as rate of cell differentiation.
The commercial canine-specific CnT-09 medium was comparable to the home-made cFAD medium in supporting the growth and proliferation of canine follicular keratinocytes in vitro. The CnT-09 medium should be a viable alternative growth medium for molecular studies of alopecic disorders in dogs.