Defining a Role for G-Protein Coupled Receptor/cAMP/CRE-Binding Protein Signaling in Hair Follicle Stem Cell Activation

J Invest Dermatol. 2021 Jul 17;S0022-202X(21)01454-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2021.05.031. Online ahead of print.


Manipulation of adrenergic signaling has been shown experimentally and clinically to affect hair follicle growth. In this study, we provide direct evidence that canonical cAMP/CRE-binding protein signaling through adrenergic receptors can regulate hair follicle stem cell (HFSC) activation and hair cycle. We found that CRE-binding protein activation is regulated through the hair cycle and coincides with HFSC activation. Both isoproterenol and procaterol, agonists of adrenergic receptors, show the capacity to activate the hair cycle in mice. Furthermore, deletion of ADRB2 receptor, which is thought to mediate sympathetic nervous system regulation of HFSCs, was sufficient to block HFSC activation. Downstream, stimulation of adenylyl cyclase with forskolin or inhibition of phosphodiesterase to increase cAMP accumulation or direct application of cAMP was each sufficient to promote HFSC activation and accelerate initiation of hair cycle. Genetic induction of a Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drug allele showed that G-protein coupled receptor/GαS stimulation, specifically in HFSCs, promoted the activation of the hair cycle. Finally, we provide evidence that G-protein coupled receptor/CRE-binding protein signaling can potentially act on HFSCs by promoting glycolytic metabolism, which was previously shown to stimulate HFSC activation. Together, these data provide mechanistic insights into the role of sympathetic innervation on HFSC function.