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Margaret Mead
Review Article

Immortalization of Primary Keratinocytes and Its Application to Skin Research


As a major component of the epidermal tissue, a primary keratinocyte has served as an essential tool not only for the study of pathogenesis of skin-related diseases but also for the assessment of potential toxicities of various chemicals used in cosmetics. However, its short lifespan in ex vivo setting has been a great hurdle for many practical applications. Therefore, a number of immortalization attempts have been made with success to overcome this limitation. In order to understand the immortalization process of a primary keratinocyte, several key biological phenomena governing its lifespan will be reviewed first. Then, various immortalization methods for the establishment of stable keratinocyte cell lines will be explained. Finally, its application to a three-dimensional skin culture system will be described.