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J Invest Dermatol. 2000 Aug;115(2):200-6.

Histologic and cell kinetic studies of hair loss and subsequent recovery process of human scalp hair follicles grafted onto severe combined immunodeficient mice.

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Department of Dermatology, Niigata University School of Medicine, Niigata, Japan.


To establish a model for studying human scalp hair, individually isolated hair follicles were grafted onto back skin of severe combined immunodeficient mice. Histologic changes and cell kinetics in the hair loss and subsequent recovery process were investigated. In the dystrophic stage (from day 7 to 30), all the hair shafts became dystrophic and were shed. Thickening and corrugation of vitreous membrane, apoptosis, and regression of the lower part were observed in the grafted hair follicles. 5-bromo-2'-deoxy-uridine-labeled cells were not detected in the lower end of the follicles, and keratin 19-positive cells appeared there. At the end of this stage their lower part was maximally retracted, secondary germ remained beneath the bulge, and the vitreous membrane disappeared. In the regeneration stage (from day 30 to 50), the same histologic findings as those at the end of the dystrophic stage were observed. The keratin 19-positive cells in the secondary germ, however, were replaced with keratin 19-negative and 5-bromo-2'-deoxy-uridine-labeled cells. Then, differentiation into an inner root sheath and a hair shaft began, and apoptosis was terminated. In the stable growth stage (from day 40 to at least 150), the grafted follicles were immunohistochemically and light microscopically identical with the normal anagen hair follicles except for the presence of melanin incontinence. These findings suggest that the grafted hair follicles entered into dystrophic catagen, subsequently dystrophic telogen, then returned to normal anagen follicles, and that stem cells or their close progeny in the secondary germ play an important part in the recovery process.

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