Effects of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone and estradiol on growth of human hair outer root sheath keratinocytes in vitro

Abstract

Human hair follicles are targets of sex hormones, but they do not behave identically, their response varying depending on the body site [5]. Androgens and estrogens transform vellus to terminal hair in genital skin during puberty, whereas, as well as genetic effects, androgens induce regression of terminal hair during the development of male-pattern baldness. Hair growth depends on interaction of mesenchymal and epithelial compartments, i.e. between dermal papilla and hair matrix. After shedding ofa telogen hair, outer root sheath keratinocytes (ORSK) are involved in new hair follicle formation [8, 14] and there is some evidence that matrix cells of a new anagen hair are reconstituted from cells of the outer root sheath [8, 14, 151. Different methods exist for the cultivation of hair follicle cells. Besides the known model for culturing dermal hair papilla cells [10], a new technique has been described for culturing ORSK of plucked anagen scalp hairs [12, 13]. This method is suitable for studying the influence of hormones and drugs on growth behavior of these cells in vitro. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and estradiol (E2) on the growth behaviour of subcultured ORSK compared with interfollicular keratinocytes (IK) of the same male subjects. Anagen hairs (approximately 50-100) were plucked from the frontal scalp region of four healthy male volunteers aged 26 to 36 years, neither suffering from male pattern baldness nor from other diseases affecting hair or skin. The hair shafts were cut off. Anagen hairs with an intact outer root sheath (ORS) were carefully selected

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