A joint team of Associate Professor Yoshiho Ikeuchi, Project Researcher Xiaoyu Zhou, and others at the Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo, and POLA CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES, INC. conducted research focusing on the relationship between sensory nerves and pigment cells (melanocytes). It was found that it activates the function of

 It is known that in the epidermis of human skin, melanocytes that produce melanin pigments that cause dark spots are physically close to sensory nerves.However, the functional relationship between these has not been clarified.

 In order to verify the possibility that sensory nerves and melanocytes influence skin pigmentation through some kind of interaction, the research team examined human skin at spots.First, they found that the contact between sensory nerves and melanocytes increased inside the blemish compared to the outside of the blemish (area without blemishes).

 In addition, when sensory nerves and melanocytes produced from human iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) are cultured together, the melanocytes actively extend the processes used to deliver pigments to epidermal cells, compared to culturing alone. It was found to produce more melanin pigment.

 It was also found that this function is caused by a protein called RGMB (Repulsive Guidance Molecule B) secreted by sensory nerves. It has been confirmed that the addition of RGMB to melanocytes promotes process elongation and pigment production in melanocytes.Thus, the mechanism by which sensory nerves activate melanocytes by secretion of RGMB was clarified.

 The findings of this study are expected to contribute to the understanding of localized skin pigmentation such as blemishes and the development of treatment methods.

Paper information:[Cell Reports] Human Sensory Neurons Modulate Melanocytes Through Secretion of RGMB

Tokyo University

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The University of Tokyo was established in 1877 (Meiji 10) by integrating the Tokyo Kaisei School and the Tokyo Medical School.Since its establishment, it has developed education and research in a unique way in the world as a leading university in Japan and an academic center for the fusion of East and West cultures.As a result, many human resources have been produced in a wide range of fields, and many research achievements […]

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