Dexpanthenol (D-panthenol) is a precursor of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and is widely used for dietary supplements and topical applications. D-panthenol has long been used in hair care products for the purpose of anti-hair loss, its effects and the underlying mechanisms, however, were barely reported. In this study, the effects of D-panthenol on human hair follicle cells, including dermal papilla cells (hDPCs) and outer root sheath cells (hORSCs), were investigated. D-panthenol enhanced the cell viability, increasing the cellular proliferation marker Ki67 in cultured hDPCs. The markers for apoptosis (Caspase3/9) and cell senescence (p21/p16), reported to be expressed in aged or resting phase follicles, were significantly reduced by D-panthenol. Anagen-inducing factors (ALP; β-catenin; versican), which trigger or elongate the anagen phase, were stimulated by D-panthenol. On the other hand, D-panthenol reduced TGF-β1 expressions in both mRNA and protein levels. The expression of VEGF, which is important for peripheral blood vessel activation; was up-regulated by D-panthenol treatment. In cultured hORSCs, cell proliferation and viability were enhanced, while the mRNA expression of cell senescence markers (p21/p16) was significantly down-regulated. The expressions of both VEGF and its receptor (VEGFR) were up-regulated by D-panthenol. In conclusion, our data suggest that the hair growth stimulating activity of D-panthenol was exerted by increasing the cell viability, suppressing the apoptotic markers, and elongating the anagen phase in hair follicles.
Keywords: D-panthenol; anagen; anti-hair loss; dermal papilla; follicle aging; outer root sheath.