Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a central regulator of cell proliferation and survival. There is limited evidence that mTOR influences hair follicles (HFs), which undergo cycles of quiescence (telogen), growth (anagen) and regression (catagen). We sought to investigate whether mTOR, in particular mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1), regulates the hair growth cycle by employing biochemical, immunohistochemical and functional approaches in vivo. Here, we demonstrate that quantitative analysis of mTORC1 kinase activity shows phase-dependent changes, and phosphorylated mTOR at S2448 (p-mTOR) was localized in certain sites of HFs in a phase-dependent manner. These results were indicative of mTOR's role in hair growth initiation. Finally, in a pharmacological challenge in vivo using the specific mTORC1 inhibitor, rapamycin, hair cycle initiation was delayed, suggesting a functional relevance of mTORC1 in anagen entry. Based on our findings, we propose that mTORC1 may participate in hair cycle regulation, namely the timing of anagen initiation.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S.