Melanocytes are melanin-producing neural crest-derived cells located in the bottom layer (the stratum basale) of the skin’s epidermis, the middle layer of the eye (the uvea), the inner ear, vaginal epithelium, meninges, bones, and heart  . Melanocytes, which are derived from the neural crest, are unique in that they produce eu-/pheo-melanin pigments in unique membrane-bound organelles termed melanosomes, which can be divided into four stages depending on their degree of maturation . Dysregulation of melanocyte migration, proliferation, or survival during embryonic development thus causes congenital disorders in those tissues as seen in Tietz syndrome, Waardenburg syndrome, and piebaldism . In the bottom layer of skin epidermis, melanocytes synthesize and transfer dark-colored melanin to surrounding keratinocytes to give skin pigmentation. Melanin also blocks UV-B light to protect the hypodermis from solar exposure-induced photodamage. Progress in culture techniques, along with an improved understanding of melanocyte biology, has led to a successful culture system to model melanomas, inner ear homeostasis, vitiligo, and mitochondrial dysfunction in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy .
iXCells Biotechnologies provides high quality Human Epidermal Melanocytes-light (HEM-l), which are isolated from neonatal human skin and cryopreserved at P1, with >0.5 million cells in each vial. HEM-l express fibronectin and NGF-receptor (p75). They are negative for HIV-1, HBV, HCV, mycoplasma, bacteria, yeast, and fungi and can further expand no more than 3 passages in Melanocyte Growth Medium (Cat# MD-0049) under the condition suggested by iXCells Biotechnologies. Prolonged culture process may decrease the purity.
Figure 1. Human Epidermal Melanocytes-light (HEM-l). (A) Phase contrast image of HEM-I. (B) Immunofluorescence staining with antibodies against S100-beta.
|Tissue||Neonatal human skin|
|Package Size||0.5 million cells/vial|
|Media||Melanocyte Growth Medium (Cat# MD-0049)|
 McGrath JA, Eady RAJ, Pope FM. (2004). “Anatomy and Organization of Human Skin”. In Burns T, Breathnach S, Cox N, Griffiths C. Rook’s Textbook of Dermatology (7th ed.). Blackwell Publishing. p. 4190.
 Yuji Yamaguchi and Vincent J. Hearing (2014) “Melanocytes and Their Diseases”. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2014 May; 4(5): a017046
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 M Y Hsu, M Herlyn. (1996) “Cultivation of normal human epidermal melanocytes” Methods Mol Med. 2:9-20.