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).

Related Articles


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 March 31, 2015 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 March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Diné Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
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