STEM CELLS

Immune control of hair growth

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Science  16 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6343, pp. 1135-1136
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6343.1135-b

Hair follicles in mammalian skin undergo cycles of quiescence and regeneration. Hair follicle stem cells play a role in the regeneration phase. Ali et al. have found that regulatory T cells (Tregs), immune cells known to suppress inflammation, colocalize with stem cells in hair follicles. In a mouse model of hair regeneration, depletion of Tregs reduced hair growth. Analysis of gene expression revealed that Tregs promote the proliferation and differentiation of hair follicle stem cells. Tregs express a high level of Jagged, a ligand of the cell-cell communication system called the Notch signaling pathway that controls stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. The findings may have implications for treating individuals with alopecia areata, a hair loss condition.

Cell 10.1016/j.cell.2017.05.002 (2017).

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