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


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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