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In vivo induction of hair growth by dermal cells isolated from hair follicles after extended organ culture

Robinson, M.; Reynolds, A.J.; Gharzi, A.; Jahoda, C.A.B.


M. Robinson

A.J. Reynolds

A. Gharzi


Successful hair follicle organ culture has been established for some time, but hair growth in vitro is limited and generally terminates prematurely in comparison with in vivo. The reasons why growth stops in culture are as yet unknown. In this investigation, adult rat vibrissa follicles for which growth in culture is limited to about 10 d, were maintained in vitro for a minimum of 20 d after the hair shaft stopped growing. The pattern of fiber growth and long-term follicle pathology reflected the initial hair cycle stage at the time of isolation. Furthermore, there was evidence that a group of follicles put into culture when in late anagen were attempting to cycle in vitro. Microscopy showed that, in spite of widespread pathologic changes to the follicle epithelium, dermal cells in the follicle showed remarkable resilience. Their viability was confirmed when primary cell cultures were established from isolated dermal tissue. These cells labeled positively for -smooth muscle actin, an established marker of hair follicle dermal cell phenotype in vitro. Moreover, isolated dermal tissue induced hair growth when implanted into inactivated hair follicles in vivo. These data confirm that the cessation in hair growth is not due to a loss of the inductive capacity in the dermal component. Long-term organ culture may provide opportunities to investigate factors that are expressed or lost during hair growth cessation. In addition it may be possible to develop this method further to obtain a reliable and predictable model of hair follicle cycling in vitro.


Robinson, M., Reynolds, A., Gharzi, A., & Jahoda, C. (2001). In vivo induction of hair growth by dermal cells isolated from hair follicles after extended organ culture. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 117(3), 596-604.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 1, 2001
Deposit Date May 18, 2007
Journal Journal of Investigative Dermatology
Print ISSN 0022-202X
Electronic ISSN 1523-1747
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 117
Issue 3
Pages 596-604
Keywords Dermal papilla, Dermal sheath, Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions.