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Acta Anat (Basel). 1996;157(3):169-82.

Changing patterns of cell adhesion molecules during mouse pelage hair follicle development. 1. Follicle morphogenesis in wild-type mice.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Guelph, Ont., Canada.


The morphogenesis of hairs is initiated and maintained by reciprocal interactions between groups of epithelial and mesenchymal cells. To examine whether cell adhesion molecules play a role in this process, prenatal distribution patterns of various cell adhesion molecules were studied during hair follicle morphogenesis in the dorsal skin of C57BL mouse embryos, using monoclonal antibodies. E-cadherin was present on all epithelial cells of the skin when the ectoderm gave rise to periderm and epidermis. E-cadherin was reduced in the follicle placodes and hair plugs, then disappeared from the presumptive hair matrix of elongating follicles. P-cadherin was initially present on all cells of periderm and epidermis and was later retained at a reduced level in the basal epidermal layer. P-cadherin was prominent in all follicle placodes and hair plugs and in the presumptive hair matrix of elongating follicles. N-CAM was present on all mesenchymal cells of the presumptive dermis at the prefollicle stage, then temporarily restricted to a few cells just below the dermal-epithelial junction. Later, N-CAM reappeared in the interfollicular mesenchyme and was prominent in the mesenchymal sheath and dermal papilla of elongating follicles. In addition, N-CAM was expressed in the hair plugs, then became progressively restricted to the upper caudal part of the elongating follicles. The results suggest that the main role of cell adhesion molecules is to mould the follicle by relaxing or reinforcing cell contacts in areas of increased morphogenetic activity.

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