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Arch Dermatol Res. 2010 May;302(4):263-70. doi: 10.1007/s00403-009-0987-x. Epub 2009 Aug 25.

Expression and function of glycogen synthase kinase-3 in human hair follicles.

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Hair Clinic Reve-21 Corporation, 2-1-61 Shiromi, Chuo-ku, Osaka, 540-6122, Japan.


Beta-catenin is involved in the hair follicle morphogenesis and stem cell differentiation, and inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) increases beta-catenin concentration in the cytoplasm. To examine the effects of GSK-3 inhibition on the hair follicle epithelium, we first examined the expression of GSK-3 in plucked human hair follicles by RT-PCR and found GSK-3 expression in hair follicles. Western blotting with a GSK-3beta-specific antibody, Y174, also demonstrated GSK-3beta expression in the follicles. Moreover, GSK-3beta immunostaining with Y174 showed that GSK-3beta colocalized with hair follicle bulge markers. Contrary to GSK-3beta, GSK-3 alpha was widely expressed throughout the follicles when immunostained with a specific antibody, EP793Y. We then investigated the influence of GSK-3 inhibition. A GSK-3 inhibitor, BIO, promoted the growth of human outer root sheath cells, which could be cultured for up to four passages. The BIO-treated cells exhibited smaller and more undifferentiated morphology than control cells. Moreover, in organ culture of plucked human hair, outer root sheath cells in the middle of a hair follicle proliferated when cultured with BIO. These results indicate that GSK-3beta is expressed in hair bulge stem cells and BIO promotes the growth of ORS cells, possibly by regulating the GSK-3 signaling pathway.

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