Regulatory T Cells in Skin Facilitate Epithelial Stem Cell Differentiation

Niwa Ali, Bahar Zirak, Robert Sanchez Rodriguez, Mariela L. Pauli, Hong An Truong, Kevin Lai, Richard Ahn, Kaitlin Corbin, Margaret M. Lowe, Tiffany C. Scharschmidt, Keyon Taravati, Madeleine R. Tan, Roberto R. Ricardo-Gonzalez, Audrey Nosbaum, Marta Bertolini, Wilson Liao, Frank O. Nestle, Ralf Paus, George Cotsarelis, Abul K. AbbasMichael D. Rosenblum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

226 Scopus citations


The maintenance of tissue homeostasis is critically dependent on the function of tissue-resident immune cells and the differentiation capacity of tissue-resident stem cells (SCs). How immune cells influence the function of SCs is largely unknown. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) in skin preferentially localize to hair follicles (HFs), which house a major subset of skin SCs (HFSCs). Here, we mechanistically dissect the role of Tregs in HF and HFSC biology. Lineage-specific cell depletion revealed that Tregs promote HF regeneration by augmenting HFSC proliferation and differentiation. Transcriptional and phenotypic profiling of Tregs and HFSCs revealed that skin-resident Tregs preferentially express high levels of the Notch ligand family member, Jagged 1 (Jag1). Expression of Jag1 on Tregs facilitated HFSC function and efficient HF regeneration. Taken together, our work demonstrates that Tregs in skin play a major role in HF biology by promoting the function of HFSCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1119-1129.e11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Jagged 1
  • Notch
  • alopecia areata
  • hair
  • hair follicle stem cell
  • hair regeneration
  • regulatory T cell
  • skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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