Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cellular automaton model predicts how hair follicle stem cells regenerate

Date:
December 9, 2011
Source:
American Society for Cell Biology
Summary:
Your hair -- or lack of hair -- is the result of a lifelong tug-of-war between activators that wake up, and inhibitors that calm, stem cells in every hair follicle on your body.

Your hair -- or lack of hair -- is the result of a lifelong tug-of-war between activators that wake up, and inhibitors that calm, stem cells in every hair follicle on your body, according to Cheng-Ming Chuong, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Southern California (USC).

Chuong presented the findings on Dec. 7, at the American Society for Cell Biology 2011 Annual Meeting in Denver.

Building on research reported last April in Science, Chuong and his colleagues teamed with Oxford University mathematicians Philip Maini, Ph.D., and Ruth E. Baker, Ph.D., to use a "cellular automaton" model to describe the population behavior of hair follicles.

Using the predictive model, the researchers found that each adult human hair follicle could count only on its intrinsic growth-promoting signals, without the help of adjacent follicles in the macro-environment. In contrast, the growth of both rabbit and mice hair follicles depended on signals from neighboring follicles.

The cellular automaton model consists of a regular mathematical grid of automata, each of which represents one hair follicle in one of its four functional cyclic stages. Surrounding each automaton are eight automata, the hair follicle's neighbors.

The state of each automaton changes according to rules that dictate whether hair on a human scalp or in an animal's fur coat will be caught up in waves of growth called the anagen phase, or remain in the resting or telogen phase. Under the right conditions -- winter season or a new physiological stage in an organism's life such as puberty -- a collective regeneration wave can sweep through the skin, activating hair stem cells in individual follicles and those in front of them, by the tens of thousands.

In other seasons or life stages, individual follicles may remain locked in telogen by the inhibitors in their macro-environment. Inhibitor levels are modulated in part by intradermal adipose tissue and the central endocrine system. These multiple layers of control create a balance between inhibitory BMP (bone morphogenic protein) signaling that keeps hair stem cells in quiescent state and activating Wnt signaling that wakes them up.

Chuong reported robust wave spreading in rabbits, gradual spreading in mice, and random growth with loss of follicle coupling in human skin. The data suggest a new approach to androgenic alopecia, the most common form of alopecia in aging males: It may be easier to get hair follicles growing again by improving their environment, rather than implanting stem cells.

The success of the cellular automaton method could be applied to a broad range of biological pattern formation situations, including the spread of infectious diseases or neural networking in the developing brain, said Chuong.

Chuong and his colleagues determined that spacing between hair stem cell clusters was critical. Because rabbits have compound follicles (multiple hairs from one follicle), their stem cells were tightly coupled, and their coats regenerated so rapidly that the patterns resembled rapidly changing fractals. In humans, coupling of hair follicles was much lower, probably as a result of human evolution, Chuong said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Cell Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society for Cell Biology. "Cellular automaton model predicts how hair follicle stem cells regenerate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111207132635.htm>.
American Society for Cell Biology. (2011, December 9). Cellular automaton model predicts how hair follicle stem cells regenerate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111207132635.htm
American Society for Cell Biology. "Cellular automaton model predicts how hair follicle stem cells regenerate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111207132635.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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