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Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today. 2009 Sep;87(3):263-72. doi: 10.1002/bdrc.20158.

Epidermal patterning and induction of different hair types during mouse embryonic development.

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  • 1Developmental Skin Biology Section, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


An intriguing question in developmental biology is how epidermal pattern formation processes are established and what are the molecular mechanisms involved in these events. The establishment of the pattern is concomitant with the formation of ectodermal appendages, which involves complex interactions between the epithelium and the underlying mesenchyme. Among ectodermal appendages, hair follicles are the "mini organs" that produce hair shafts. Several developmental and structural features are common to all hair follicles and to the hair shaft they produce. However, many different hair types are produced in a single organism. Also, different characteristics can be observed depending on the part of the body where the hair follicle is formed. Here, we review the mechanisms involved in the patterning of different hair types during mouse embryonic development as well as the influence of the body axes on hair patterning.

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