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J Invest Dermatol. 2001 Jun;116(6):956-63.

Expression of calcium-binding S100 proteins A4 and A6 in regions of the epithelial sac associated with the onset of hair follicle regeneration.

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Basic Research Laboratory, Kanebo Ltd, Odawara, Japan.


In order to elucidate the onset mechanisms of hair regrowth, we characterized the expression of metastasis and cell-growth-associated calcium-binding S100 proteins in the regenerating follicular epithelium. Hair-cycle-dependent expression of S100A4 and S100A6 was found in the epithelial sac regions (bulge area and hair germ) of mouse pelage follicles. Protein localization of S100A4 was confined to the bulge area, the region where the presumed follicular stem cells reside, during the catagen-telogen-anagen transitional periods, whereas S100A6 protein was distributed throughout the epithelial sac regions during anagen phase. Prior to entering anagen phase, however, both S100 mRNAs were upregulated in the epithelial sac. Despite the induction of extensive cell death in the bulge region after plucking, a new hair cycle was initiated following transcription of S100A6 in the hair germ. Upon wounding stimuli, both the outer root sheath and the basal layer of epidermis expressed S100A6 mRNA prior to hyper-proliferation. Once the epithelial sac was induced to transcribe both S100 genes, resting follicles were concomitantly rejuvenated. These results suggest that S100A4 and S100A6 might play important roles in the activation of stem cells at the onset of follicle regeneration.

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