To investigate the effect and molecular mechanism of methionine (Met) on the growth of hair follicles (HFs) in Rex rabbits. A total of 200 weaning Rex rabbits were divided into four groups and fed varying levels of Met-supplemented diets. We measured the HF density on dorsal skin and the Wnt/β-catenin pathway protein expression level. Meanwhile, whole HFs were isolated from Rex rabbit skins and cultured with Met in vitro to measure hair shaft growth. The relationship between Met and the Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway was also characterized by using the Wnt/β-catenin signalling inhibitor, XAV-939. The results showed that the addition of dietary Met could significantly increase the HF density on dorsal skin (p < .05) and enhance the protein expression level of Wnt10b (p < .05), β-catenin (p < .05) and DSH (p < .05). Methionine stimulation could also prolong the hair shafts growth in vitro (p < .05). And inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin signalling using XAV-939 could eliminate this phenomenon. In summary, Met can increase the density of HFs on dorsal skin in vitro and prolong the hair shaft growth of HFs in vivo via the Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway.
Keywords: Rex rabbit; Wnt/β-catenin signalling; hair follicle; methionine.
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