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J Invest Dermatol. 2015 Oct;135(10):2358-2367. doi: 10.1038/jid.2015.187. Epub 2015 May 19.

Lack of Collagen VI Promotes Wound-Induced Hair Growth.

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Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.
Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy. Electronic address:


Collagen VI is an extracellular matrix molecule that is abundantly expressed in the skin. However, the role of collagen VI in hair follicle growth is unknown. Here, we show that collagen VI is strongly deposited in hair follicles, and is markedly upregulated by skin wounding. Lack of collagen VI in Col6a1(-/-) mice delays hair cycling and growth under physiological conditions, but promotes wound-induced hair regrowth without affecting skin regeneration. Conversely, addition of purified collagen VI rescues the abnormal wound-induced hair regrowth in Col6a1(-/-) mice. Mechanistic studies revealed that the increased wound-induced hair regrowth of Col6a1(-/-) mice is triggered by activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, and is abolished by inhibition of this pathway. These findings highlight the essential relationships between extracellular matrix (ECM) and hair follicle regeneration, and suggest that collagen VI could be a potential therapeutic target for hair loss and other skin-related diseases.

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