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Logo of ariAnatomy Research International
 
Anat Res Int. 2012; 2012: 837626.
Published online 2012 October 2. doi:  10.1155/2012/837626
PMCID: PMC3467754

Origin and Regenerative Potential of Vertebrate Mechanoreceptor-Associated Stem Cells

Abstract

Meissner corpuscles and Merkel cell neurite complexes are highly specialized mechanoreceptors present in the hairy and glabrous skin, as well as in different types of mucosa. Several reports suggest that after injury, such as after nerve crush, freeze injury, or dissection of the nerve, they are able to regenerate, particularly including reinnervation and repopulation of the mechanoreceptors by Schwann cells. However, little is known about mammalian cells responsible for these regenerative processes. Here we review cellular origin of this plasticity in the light of newly described adult neural crest-derived stem cell populations. We also discuss further potential multipotent stem cell populations with the ability to regenerate disrupted innervation and to functionally recover the mechanoreceptors. These capabilities are discussed as in context to cellularly reprogrammed Schwann cells and tissue resident adult mesenchymal stem cells.


Articles from Anatomy Research International are provided here courtesy of Hindawi Publishing Corporation