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Cell Cycle. 2011 Oct 1;10(19):3379-86. doi: 10.4161/cc.10.19.17669. Epub 2011 Oct 1.

Shh is required for Tabby hair follicle development.

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Laboratory of Genetics, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.


In embryonic Eda mutant ("Tabby") mice, the development of one of the two major types of hair, "primary" hair fails, but other "secondary" hairs develop in normal numbers, though shorter and slightly aberrant. In Tabby mice, Shh is undetectable in skin early on, but is activated during secondary hair formation. We inferred that Shh may be involved in primary hair formation, activated normally by Eda, and also possibly in secondary hair formation, activated by an Eda-independent pathway. Varying the dosage of Shh now supports these inferences. In Shh knockout mice, mice were totally hairless: primary and secondary hair follicle germs were formed, but further progression failed. Consistent with these findings, when Shh loss was restricted to the skin, secondary hair follicle germs were initiated on time in Tabby mice, but their subsequent development (down-growth) failed. An Shh transgene expressed in Tabby skin could not restore induction of primary hair follicles, but restored normal length to the somewhat aberrant secondary hair that was formed and prolonged the anagen phase of hair cycling. Thus, Shh is required for primary and secondary hair down-growth and full secondary hair length, but is not itself sufficient to replace Eda or make fully normal secondary hair.

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