Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 10, 207-217 (March 2009) | doi:10.1038/nrm2636

Article series: Stem cells

Epidermal homeostasis: a balancing act of stem cells in the skin

Cédric Blanpain1 & Elaine Fuchs2  About the authors


The skin epidermis and its array of appendages undergo ongoing renewal by a process called homeostasis. Stem cells in the epidermis have a crucial role in maintaining tissue homeostasis by providing new cells to replace those that are constantly lost during tissue turnover or following injury. Different resident skin stem cell pools contribute to the maintenance and repair of the various epidermal tissues of the skin, including interfollicular epidermis, hair follicles and sebaceous glands. Interestingly, the basic mechanisms and signalling pathways that orchestrate epithelial morphogenesis in the skin are reused during adult life to regulate skin homeostasis.

Author affiliations

  1. Université Libre de Bruxelles, Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Biologie Humaine et Moléculaire, 808, route de Lennik, 1070 Bruxelles, Belgium.
  2. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue Box 300, New York, New York 10065, USA.

Correspondence to: Elaine Fuchs2 Email:

Published online 11 February 2009


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