Author(s): Randall VA, Thornton MJ, Messenger AG, Hibberts NA, Loudon AS,
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Abstract Many hair follicles produce different types of hair in response to environmental changes or the mammals age, that are translated to the follicle by hormones. Androgens cause many changes, such as transforming vellus follicles producing insignificant hairs on the face to terminal beard ones at puberty or the reverse on the scalp. In male red deer the breeding season rise in androgens causes the annual production of a mane on the neck that is lost during the spring. Because the dermal papilla situated at the base of the hair follicle is important in determining the type of hair produced, androgens may act via the dermal papilla. Therefore, primary cell lines of dermal papilla cells from human and red deer follicles with different responses to androgens have been established. Specific saturable androgen receptors were present in all human papilla cells examined, with higher levels in cells from androgen-dependent follicles, e.g., beard than in control, non-balding scalp cells. In preliminary investigations of red deer, androgen receptors were only present in cells derived from mane follicles and were undetectable in flank or spring neck follicles. These similar results from both species support the hypothesis that androgens are acting on hair follicles via the dermal papilla. They also suggest that dermal papilla cells are potentially useful models for investigating the mechanism of androgen action because cultured cells appear to retain differences that relate to the androgen responsiveness of their parent follicle. The red deer seems particularly interesting in view of the much shorter hair-growth cycle than human scalp or beard follicles.
This article was published in J Invest Dermatol
and referenced in Hair Therapy & Transplantation