Co-culture of Melanocytes with Adipose-derived Stem Cells as a Potential Substitute for Co-culture with Keratinocytes
Östen Hägermark, Kjell Strandberg, Reidar Grönneberg
Cell-to-cell interactions between melanocytes and keratinocytes increase the proliferation and migration of melanocytes. In fact, mixed keratinocyte and melanocyte cultures have been used for autologous cell transplantation for treatment of vitiligo. However, this may require taking an amount of skin tissue large enough to leave scars. In this study, the in vitro effect of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) on proliferation, differentiation and migration of melanocytes was compared with that of keratinocytes
using immunohistochemistry and a Boyden chamber migration assay. The proliferation and migration of melanocytes was significantly stimulated by co-culture with ADSCs compared with melanocyte monocultures, although the effect of ADSCs was less powerful than that of keratinocytes. This may be related to increases in stem cell factor and basic fibroblast growth factor, growth factors for melanocytes, produced by the ADSCs. The ratios of melanocytes stained with antibodies against Trp-2, E-cadherin and N-cadherin were significantly increased by co-culturing with ADSCs compared with co-culturing with keratinocytes as well as melanocyte monocultures. The proportion of less-pigmented melanocytes was also increased and sustained for a longer duration in the presence of ADSCs. Our data show that co-culturing with ADSCs results in increased melanocyte proliferation and migration while reducing differentiation, and could provide a means to treat disorders such as vitiligo.