Cell Behavior

Sense-ible hair

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Science  01 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6234, pp. 537
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6234.537-a

Groups of hair cells influence each other's growth through quorum sensing

PHOTO: © GLOBALP/ISTOCKPHOTO

Could restoring hair growth depend on group behavior? Chen et al. report that damaged and healthy hair follicles grow cooperatively. The authors found that plucking 200 hairs in a specific pattern and density on the back of a mouse elicited not only the regrowth of the injured follicles but also the growth of up to five times that number of nearby uninjured follicles. Injured follicles release CCL2, a factor that recruits macrophages to the damaged area, and these secrete tumor necrosis factor–α, which stimulates stem cells in both plucked and unplucked follicles. The process reflects quorum sensing, where a population of cells communicates and coordinates behavior of the group through a signaling mechanism.

Cell 161, 277 (2015).

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