Immunolocalization of Wnt5a during the hair cycle and its role in hair shaft growth in mice.

Department of Cell Biology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, People's Republic of China.
Acta histochemica (Impact Factor: 1.61). 10/2011; 113(6):608-12. DOI: 10.1016/j.acthis.2010.06.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Previous studies have shown that the Wnt signaling pathway plays an important role in the growth and development of hair follicles. It has been generally accepted that Wnt5a, a non-canonical Wnt gene, inhibits the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Several reports have addressed its mRNA expression in embryonic and postnatal hair follicles, but its exact role in the growth of hair follicles is currently unknown. In this study, we investigated the immunolocalization of Wnt5a protein in pelages of the dorsal skin and whisker follicles of mice. We found that in the anagen phase, dermal papilla cells showed the highest staining levels of Wnt5a protein, while in the catagen and the telogen phases the staining levels were lower. During the growth stage, Wnt5a protein was prominently located in the matrix and precortex cells in addition to the inner root sheath, outer root sheath and the dermal papilla. As the hair cycle progresses, the immunostaining of Wnt5a was gradually decreased in the catagen phase and was located in the bulge and secondary hair germ in the telogen phase. This Wnt5a immunostaining profile was consistent between dorsal skin pelages and whisker follicles. Furthermore, in an in vitro study using whisker follicle organ culture, we demonstrated that the growth of the hair shaft was significantly inhibited by adenovirus Wnt5a. Our findings suggest that Wnt5a is a dynamic factor in the hair cycle and it is important for the regulation of hair shaft growth.

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