Hair growth-promoting activities of chitosan and surface-deacetylated chitin nanofibers

Int J Biol Macromol. 2019 Apr 1:126:11-17. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.12.135. Epub 2018 Dec 18.


In this study, the effects of chitosan and surface-deacetylated chitin nanofibrils (SDACNFs) on hair growth were evaluated. In human follicle dermal papilla cells in vitro, chitosan and SDACNFs were shown to increase cell growth on day 3 after the initiation of treatment, together with an increase in the production of fibroblast growth factor-7 (FGF-7) by these cells on day 3. Furthermore, in an in vivo study in mice, chitosan and SDACNF application promoted hair growth. The number of anagen follicles significantly increased compared with that in the control group, whereas the number of telogen follicles significantly decreased in the chitosan and SDACNF groups. In the chitosan and SDACNFs groups, moreover, the expression levels of FGF-7 and Sonic hedgehog were significantly upregulated in hair follicles. Overall, our results demonstrated that chitosan and SDACNFs promoted hair growth and therefore may have applications as novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of hair loss in patients.

Keywords: Chitosan; Fibroblast growth factor-7; Hair follicle; Human follicle dermal papilla cell; Surface-deacetylated chitin nanofiber.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Chitin / pharmacology*
  • Chitosan / pharmacology*
  • Hair / cytology
  • Hair / drug effects
  • Hair / growth & development*
  • Hair Follicle / cytology
  • Hair Follicle / drug effects
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nanofibers / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Shh protein, mouse
  • Chitin
  • Chitosan