Propolis is a natural honeybee hive product with the potential for use in the treatment of dermatological conditions, such as cutaneous abrasions, burns, and acne. In this study, we investigated whether propolis stimulates hair growth in mice. Ethanol-extracted propolis, which contains various physiologically active substances such as caffeic acid and kaempferol, stimulated anagen induction in shaved back skin. Anagen induction occurred without any detectable abnormalities in the shape of the hair follicles (HFs), hair stem cells in the bulge, proliferating hair matrix keratinocytes in the hair bulb, or localization of versican in the dermal papilla. Propolis treatment also stimulated migration of hair matrix keratinocytes into the hair shaft in HFs during late anagen in the depilated back skin. Organotypic culture of skin containing anagen stage HFs revealed significant stimulation of hair matrix keratinocyte proliferation by propolis. Furthermore, propolis facilitated the proliferation of epidermal keratinocytes. These results indicate that propolis stimulates hair growth by inducing hair keratinocyte proliferation.
Keywords: anagen induction; epidermis; hair growth; keratinocyte; propolis.