Epidermal cells are constantly being renewed. This process, called epidermal regeneration, also takes place in the hoof. It is part of normal growth and repair of the hoof wall.
The germinal layer of the epidermis contains stem cells, that generate the specific cells required for epidermal renewal. The protein P63 is involved in the maintenance of the stem cells. In chronic laminitic horses the activity of P63 seems to differ from that in healthy horses. As a result, the stem cells produce insufficient horn cells, weakening the lamellar connection. Transplantation of stem cells of the horse’s own body could provide a solution.
Stem cell transplant is very expensive and specialized surgery. You may wonder if this kind of treatment isn’t a bit too complicated for the type of illness laminitis actually is.
In the future this treatment might offer a solution in very rare cases of laminitis, when all other solutions fail.