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J Invest Dermatol. 2004 Feb;122(2):239-45.

Wnt signaling through the beta-catenin pathway is sufficient to maintain, but not restore, anagen-phase characteristics of dermal papilla cells.

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Cutaneous Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.


Dermal papilla cells of the hair follicle can be maintained in an active, hair-inducing state in vitro when cocultured with cells secreting Wnt3a. By inducing cultured dermal papilla cells to secrete Wnt themselves, we demonstrate that this activity is a direct effect of Wnt signaling to dermal papilla cells. We further demonstrate that the effects of Wnt3a are exerted through activation of the beta-catenin signal transduction pathway and do not require alternative Wnt transduction cascades. Once dermal papilla cells have lost hair-inducing properties in vitro, neither treatment with Wnt nor expression of a truncated and activating form of beta-catenin is sufficient to restore these properties to the cultured cells.

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