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Endocrinology. 2001 Jun;142(6):2533-9.

Prolactin signaling influences the timing mechanism of the hair follicle: analysis of hair growth cycles in prolactin receptor knockout mice.

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New Zealand Pastoral Agriculture Research Institute, Hamilton 2020, New Zealand.


Pituitary PRL regulates seasonal hair follicle growth cycles in many mammals. Here we present the first evidence implicating PRL in the nonseasonal, wave-like pelage replacement of laboratory mice. In this study we show that messenger RNA transcripts encoding the one long and two short forms of PRL receptor are present in the skin of adult and neonate mice. The receptor protein was immunolocalized to the hair follicle as well as the epidermis and sebaceous glands. Furthermore, PRL messenger RNA was detected within skin extracts, suggesting a possible autocrine/paracrine role. Analysis of the hair growth phenotype of PRL gene-disrupted mice (PRLR(-/-)) revealed a change in the timing of hair cycling events. Although no hair follicle development differences were noted in PRLR(-/-) neonates, observations of the second generation of hair growth revealed PRLR(-/-) mice molted earlier than wild types (PRLR(+/+)). The advance was greater in females (29 days) than in males (4 days), resulting in the elimination of the sexual dimorphism associated with murine hair replacement. Heterozygotes were intermediate between PRLR(-/-) and PRLR(+/+) mice in molt onset. Once initiated, the pattern and progression of the molt across the body were similar in all genotypes. Although all fiber types were present and appeared structurally normal, PRLR(-/-) mice had slightly longer and coarser hair than wild types. These findings demonstrate that PRL has an inhibitory effect on murine hair cycle events. The pituitary PRL regulation of hair follicle cycles observed in seasonally responsive mammals may be a result of pituitary PRL interacting with a local regulatory mechanism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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