Exploring the "hair growth-wound healing connection": anagen phase promotes wound re-epithelialization

J Invest Dermatol. 2011 Feb;131(2):518-28. doi: 10.1038/jid.2010.291. Epub 2010 Oct 7.


When the skin is damaged, a variety of cell types must migrate, proliferate, and differentiate to reform a functional barrier to the external environment. Recent studies have shown that progenitor cells residing in hair follicles (HFs) are able to contribute to this re-epithelialization of wounds in vivo. However, the influence of the hair cycle on wound healing has not previously been addressed. Here, we have exploited spontaneous postnatal hair-cycle synchronicity in mice to systematically examine the influence of the different hair-cycle stages on murine skin wound healing. We report significant acceleration of healing during the anagen phase of HF cycling in vivo, associated with alterations in epithelial, endothelial, and inflammatory cell types. Intriguingly, gene profiling data reveal a clear correlation between the transcription of genes beneficial for wound healing and those upregulated during the anagen phase of the hair cycle in unwounded skin. These findings, which demonstrate a previously unappreciated association between HF cycling and wound healing, reveal numerous molecular correlates for further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Female
  • Hair Follicle / cytology*
  • Hair Follicle / growth & development
  • Hair Follicle / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Animal
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology
  • Regeneration / physiology
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*
  • Wound Healing / physiology*