Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Substance Discovered That Induces Hair Follicle Formation In The Mature Skin Cells Of Mice

Date:
November 26, 1998
Source:
University Of Chicago
Summary:
Everyone has bad hair days. For 30 million men in the United States, roughly 40 percent of those over 35, every day is a no hair day. The good news is that thanks to new research, baldness may be fading away. Researchers from the Howard Hughes Institute at the University of Chicago have induced hair follicle formation in the mature skin cells of mice.

Everyone has bad hair days. For 30 million men in the United States, roughly 40 percent of those over 35, every day is a no hair day. The good news is that thanks to new research, baldness may be fading away.

Related Articles


Researchers from the Howard Hughes Institute at the University of Chicago have induced hair follicle formation in the mature skin cells of mice. Follicle formation is a once-in-a-lifetime event that ordinarily happens only during early embryogenesis.

Their findings, reported in the November 25 issue of Cell, indicate that a molecule called beta-catenin may be the long sought message that instructs embryonic cells to become hair follicles, suggesting possible treatments for premature baldness.

"Beta-catenin can cause adult epithelial cells to revert to an embryonic-like state where they have the ability to choose to become a hair follicle," says Elaine Fuchs, Amgen Professor in the Departments of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, Howard Hughes Investigator, and lead author of the paper. “This is exciting because current treatments for baldness only work if there are living follicles left, or if the patient undergoes hair transplant surgery. Our research shows that new follicles can be created from adult skin cells if certain molecular players are induced to act.

Beta-catenin performs two very different functions. In adult epithelial cells, it participates in binding neighboring cells together to facilitate cell-cell communication. But during embryogenesis, beta-catenin appears to have another role: it reacts with a molecule called LEF-1, which is expressed only in cells that will eventually become hair follicles. Together, beta-catenin and LEF-1 form a transcription factor that binds to the cell’s DNA and activates the genes that instruct the cell to become a hair follicle.

Uri Gat, a postdoctoral fellow in Fuchs’s lab, created mice that constantly produced a stabilized form of beta-catenin in their skin. (Normally any excess beta-catenin that is not needed for cell-cell adhesion is quickly degraded.) "The process caused some epidermal cells to make the partner molecule, LEF-1," explains Fuchs. “Wherever both stabilized beta-catenin and LEF-1 were present in an epithelial cell, a new hair follicle formed. If we can induce those two partners at the right time, new hair could be formed in places where it has been lost.

The genetically engineered mice were exceptionally hairy. In some mice, most skin cells became hair follicles.

Unlike in embryogenesis, however, the genetically engineered skin of the transgenic mice made an endless supply of beta-catenin and benign follicle tumors formed.

"This is a case of too much of a good thing leading to a bad thing," says Fuchs. She cautions that the use of these exciting findings will still need more work before hair growth can be induced without danger of unwanted side-effects. "If we can find a way to transiently express beta-catenin in these skin cells, just until new follicles are established, and then turn it off, we may be able to prevent tumor formation and still allow hair follicles to form," says Fuchs. The flip side of this, she says, is that it is also a potential tool to stop unwanted hair growth by inhibiting the pathway.

It could also have applications in the agricultural industry, for example to engineer sheep with denser wool or thicker skin, Fuchs explains.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Chicago. "Substance Discovered That Induces Hair Follicle Formation In The Mature Skin Cells Of Mice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981126103434.htm>.
University Of Chicago. (1998, November 26). Substance Discovered That Induces Hair Follicle Formation In The Mature Skin Cells Of Mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981126103434.htm
University Of Chicago. "Substance Discovered That Induces Hair Follicle Formation In The Mature Skin Cells Of Mice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981126103434.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins