Concept: Hair follicle
We report a genome-wide association scan in over 6,000 Latin Americans for features of scalp hair (shape, colour, greying, balding) and facial hair (beard thickness, monobrow, eyebrow thickness). We found 18 signals of association reaching genome-wide significance (P values 5 × 10(-8) to 3 × 10(-119)), including 10 novel associations. These include novel loci for scalp hair shape and balding, and the first reported loci for hair greying, monobrow, eyebrow and beard thickness. A newly identified locus influencing hair shape includes a Q30R substitution in the Protease Serine S1 family member 53 (PRSS53). We demonstrate that this enzyme is highly expressed in the hair follicle, especially the inner root sheath, and that the Q30R substitution affects enzyme processing and secretion. The genome regions associated with hair features are enriched for signals of selection, consistent with proposals regarding the evolution of human hair.
Human multipotent skin derived precursor cells (SKPs) are traditionally sourced from dissociated dermal tissues; therefore, donor availability may become limiting. Here we demonstrate that both normal and diseased adult human dermal fibroblasts (DF) pre-cultured in conventional monolayers are capable of forming SKPs (termed m-SKPs). Moreover, we show that these m-SKPs can be passaged and that cryopreservation of original fibroblast monolayer cultures does not reduce m-SKP yield; however, extensive monolayer passaging does. Like SKPs generated from dissociated dermis, these m-SKPs expressed nestin, fibronectin and versican at the protein level. At the transcriptional level, m-SKPs derived from normal adult human DF, expressed neural crest stem cell markers such as p75NTR, embryonic stem cell markers such as Nanog and the mesenchymal stem cell marker Dermo-1. Furthermore, appropriate stimuli induced m-SKPs to differentiate down either mesenchymal or neural lineages resulting in lipid accumulation, calcification and S100β or β-III tubulin expression (with multiple processes). m-SKP yield was greater from neonatal foreskin cultures compared to those from adult DF cultures; however, the former showed a greater decrease in m-SKP forming capacity after extensive monolayer passaging. m-SKP yield was greater from adult DF cultures expressing more alpha-smooth muscle actin (αSMA). In turn, elevated αSMA expression correlated with cells originating from specimens isolated from biopsies containing more terminal hair follicles; however, αSMA expression was lost upon m-SKP formation. Others have shown that dissociated human hair follicle dermal papilla (DP) are a highly enriched source of SKPs. However, conversely and unexpectedly, monolayer cultured human hair follicle DP cells failed to form m-SKPs whereas those from the murine vibrissae follicles did. Collectively, these findings reveal the potential for using expanded DF cultures to produce SKPs, the heterogeneity of SKP forming potential of skin from distinct anatomical locations and ages, and question the progenitor status of human hair follicle DP cells.
BACKGROUND: Thuja orientalis has been traditionally used to treat patients who suffer from baldness and hair loss in East Asia. The present study sought to investigate the hair growth-promoting activity of T. orientalis hot water extract and the underlying mechanism of action. METHODS: After T. orientalis extract was topically applied to the shaved dorsal skin of telogenic C57BL/6 N mice, the histomorphometric analysis was employed to study induction of the hair follicle cycle. To determine the effect of T. orientalis extract on the telogen to anagen transition, the protein expression levels of beta-catenin and Sonic hedgehog (Shh) in hair follicles were determined by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: We observed that T. orientalis extract promoted hair growth by inducing the anagen phase in telogenic C57BL/6 N mice. Specifically, the histomorphometric analysis data indicates that topical application of T. orientalis extract induced an earlier anagen phase and prolonged the mature anagen phase, in contrast to either the control or 1% minoxidil-treated group. We also observed increases in both the number and size of hair follicles of the T. orientalis extract-treated group. Moreover, the immunohistochemical analysis reveals earlier induction of beta-catenin and Shh proteins in hair follicles of the T. orientalis extract-treated group, compared to the control or 1% minoxidil-treated group. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that T. orientalis extract promotes hair growth by inducing the anagen phase in resting hair follicles and might therefore be a potential hair growth-promoting agent.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been traditionally used to check hair loss and stimulate hair growth in East Asia. Several companies produce shampoo containing an extract of ginger claimed to have anti-hair loss and hair growth promotion properties. However, there is no scientific evidence to back up these claims. This study was undertaken to measure 6-gingerol, the main active component of ginger, on hair shaft elongation in vitro and hair growth in vivo, and to investigate its effect on human dermal papilla cells (DPCs) in vivo and in vitro. 6-Gingerol suppressed hair growth in hair follicles in culture and the proliferation of cultured DPCs. The growth inhibition of DPCs by 6-gingerol in vitro may reflect a decrease in the Bcl-2/Bax ratio. Similar results were obtained in vivo. The results of this study showed that 6-gingerol does not have the ability to promote hair growth, on the contrary, can suppress human hair growth via its inhibitory and pro-apoptotic effects on DPCs in vitro, and can cause prolongation of telogen phase in vivo. Thus, 6-gingerol rather than being a hair growth stimulating drug, it is a potential hair growth suppressive drug; i.e. for hair removal.
Studies on bimatoprost were performed with two objectives: (i) to determine whether bimatoprost possesses hair growth-stimulating properties beyond eyelash hypertrichosis and (ii) to investigate the biodisposition of bimatoprost in skin for the first time. Bimatoprost, at the dose used clinically for eyelash growth (0.03%) and given once daily for 14 days, increased pelage hair growth in C57/black 6 mice. This occurred as a much earlier onset of new hair growth in shaved mice and the time taken to achieve complete hair regrowth, according to photographic documentation and visual assessment. Bimatoprost biodisposition in the skin was determined at three concentrations: 0.01%, 0.03% and 0.06%. Dose-dependent C(max) values were obtained (3.41, 6.74, 12.3 μg/g tissue), and cutaneous bimatoprost was well maintained for 24 h following a single dose. Bimatoprost was recovered from the skin only as the intact molecule, with no detectable levels of metabolites. Thus, bimatoprost produces hypertrichosis as the intact molecule.
In most mammals, each hair follicle undergoes a cyclic process of growing, regressing and resting phases (anagen, catagen, telogen, respectively) called the hair cycle. Various biological factors have been reported to regulate or to synchronize with the hair cycle. Some factors involved in the extracellular matrix, which is a major component of skin tissue, are also thought to regulate the hair cycle. We have focused on an enzyme that degrades elastin, which is associated with skin elasticity. Since our previous study identified skin fibroblast elastase as neprilysin (NEP), we examined the fluctuation of NEP enzyme activity and its expression during the synchronized hair cycle of rats. NEP activity in the skin was elevated at early anagen, and decreased during catagen to telogen. The expression of NEP mRNA and protein levels was modulated similarly. Immunostaining showed changes in NEP localization throughout the hair cycle, from the follicular epithelium during early anagen to the dermal papilla during catagen. To determine whether NEP plays an important role in regulating the hair cycle, we used a specific inhibitor of NEP (NPLT). NPLT was applied topically daily to the dorsal skin of C3H mice, which had been depilated in advance. Mice treated with NPLT had significantly suppressed hair growth. These data suggest that NEP plays an important role in regulating the hair cycle by its increased expression and activity in the follicular epithelium during early anagen.
Case study A boy aged 6 years was referred to our clinic for evaluation of the presence of fair, thin hair on both of his elbows. This condition had first been observed when he was 2 years of age and the hair had subsequently increased in length and thickness (Figure 1). He had a history of asthma and was being treated by a paediatrician. His family medical record was otherwise unremarkable. This unusual hairiness was symmetrically distributed on the extensor surfaces of both proximal forearms and distal arms. The underlying skin showed no abnormalities. No hypertrichosis was found elsewhere and examination of teeth, skeleton and fingernails was also normal. No other morphological changes were noted. In addition, his height was appropriate for his age. No developmental, mental or physical impairment was observed. The blood cell count and general biochemistry, as well as thyroid and sexual hormonal profiles were all normal. Radiological examination, which was performed on the parents' request, was normal. The boy was diagnosed with hypertrichosis cubiti (HC), and shaving of the areas was recommended.
Autophagy plays a crucial role in health and disease, regulating central cellular processes such as adaptive stress responses, differentiation, tissue development, and homeostasis. However, the role of autophagy in human physiology is poorly understood, highlighting a need for a model human organ system to assess the efficacy and safety of strategies to therapeutically modulate autophagy. As a complete, cyclically remodelling (mini-)organ, the organ culture of human scalp hair follicles (HFs), which, after massive growth (anagen), spontaneously enter into an apoptosis-driven organ involution (catagen) process, may provide such a model. Here, we reveal that in anagen, hair matrix keratinocytes (MKs) of organ-cultured HFs exhibit an active autophagic flux, as documented by evaluation of endogenous lipidated Light Chain 3B (LC3B) and sequestosome 1 (SQSTM1/p62) proteins and the ultrastructural visualization of autophagosomes at all stages of the autophagy. This autophagic flux is altered during catagen, and genetic inhibition of autophagy promotes catagen development. Conversely, an anti-hair loss product markedly enhances intrafollicular autophagy, leading to anagen prolongation. Collectively, our data reveal a novel role of autophagy in human hair growth. Moreover, we show that organ-cultured scalp HFs are an excellent preclinical research model for exploring the role of autophagy in human tissue physiology and for evaluating the efficacy and tissue toxicity of candidate autophagy-modulatory agents in a living human (mini-)organ.
Hair follicle morphogenesis is triggered by reciprocal interactions between hair follicle germ (HFG) epithelial and mesenchymal layers. Here, we developed a method for large-scale preparation of HFGs in vitro via self-organization of cells. We mixed mouse epidermal and mouse/human mesenchymal cells in suspension and seeded them in microwells of a custom-designed array plate. Over a 3-day culture period, cells initially formed a randomly distributed single cell aggregate and then spatially separated from each other, exhibiting typical HFG morphological features. These self-sorted hair follicle germs (ssHFGs) were shown to be capable of efficient hair-follicle and shaft generation upon intracutaneous transplantation into the backs of nude mice. This finding facilitated the large-scale preparation of approximately 5000 ssHFGs in a microwell-array chip made of oxygen-permeable silicone. We demonstrated that the integrity of the oxygen supply through the bottom of the silicone chip was crucial to enabling both ssHFG formation and subsequent hair shaft generation. Finally, spatially aligned ssHFGs on the chip were encapsulated into a hydrogel and simultaneously transplanted into the back skin of nude mice to preserve their intervening spaces, resulting in spatially aligned hair follicle generation. This simple ssHFG preparation approach is a promising strategy for improving current hair-regenerative medicine techniques.
The control principles behind robust cyclic regeneration of hair follicles (HFs) remain unclear. Using multi-scale modeling we show that coupling inhibitors and activators with physical growth of HFs is sufficient to drive periodicity and excitability of hair regeneration. Model simulations and experimental data reveal that mouse skin behaves as a heterogeneous regenerative field, composed of anatomical domains where HFs have distinct cycling dynamics. Interactions between fast-cycling chin and ventral HFs and slow-cycling dorsal HFs produce bilaterally symmetric patterns. Ear skin behaves as a hyper-refractory domain with HFs in extended rest phase. Such hyper-refractivity relates to high levels of BMP ligands and WNT antagonists, in part expressed by ear-specific cartilage and muscle. Hair growth stops at the boundaries with hyper-refractory ears and anatomically discontinuous eyelids, generating wave-breaking effects. We posit that similar mechanisms for coupled regeneration with dominant activator, hyper-refractory, and wave-breaker regions can operate in other actively renewing organs.