Chemoprevention of doxorubicin-induced alopecia in mice by dietary administration of L-cystine and vitamin B6

Arch Dermatol Res. 2013 Jan;305(1):25-34. doi: 10.1007/s00403-012-1253-1. Epub 2012 Jun 15.


Chemotherapy-induced hair loss is one of the most serious and feared adverse effects of cancer therapy. Almost all traditional chemotherapeutic agents induce a more or less severe alopecia. At present, there is no effective treatment capable of preventing this damage. Several different experimental approaches, using various animal models, have been investigated over the last years, with promising results. Sulphur-containing amino acids (cystine, cysteine) are essential components for the health of normal hair. L-Cystine is used in the treatment of various forms of alopecia. Vitamin B6 plays an important role in the development and maintenance of the skin and it is useful in reducing hair loss. In the present study, we demonstrated that the combined oral administration at high dosages of L-cystine (1,600 or 800 mg/kg body weight/day) and vitamin B6 (160 or 80 mg/kg body weight/day) is an effective chemopreventive treatment against alopecia induced by doxorubicin treatment (1.1 mg/kg body weight intravenously) in C57BL/6 mice.

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia / chemically induced
  • Alopecia / pathology
  • Alopecia / prevention & control*
  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cysteine / administration & dosage*
  • Diet*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Doxorubicin*
  • Female
  • Hair / drug effects*
  • Hair / pathology
  • Hair Follicle / drug effects
  • Hair Follicle / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Time Factors
  • Vitamin B 6 / administration & dosage*


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Doxorubicin
  • Vitamin B 6
  • Cysteine