The influence of the hair cycle on the thickness of mouse skin

Anat Rec. 1984 Dec;210(4):569-73. doi: 10.1002/ar.1092100404.


The data on mouse skin thickness reported here was prompted by the need to know the true position of basal cells of the epidermis and hair follicles as these are important "cells at risk" for a variety of skin reactions including carcinogenesis following exposure to radiation. There is little reliable data in the literature and most previous reports have ignored the shrinkage of skin that occurs because of its natural elasticity. The values determined for mouse flank skin in telogen--the resting phase of the hair cycle for the different skin layers--are epidermis 10 micron, corium 250 micron, adipose layer 150 micron, and hair follicle depth 150 micron. Three days after chemical depilation which triggers the hair follicles into active cycle (anagen) the epidermis doubles in thickness, remains at this value for 7 days, and then gradually returns to telogen values by day 18. The corium and adipose layers also increase significantly to reach approximately 390 micron and approximately 260 micron, respectively, by day 10 and then return to control values from day 15 onward. The change in hair follicles depths are more dramatic with active follicle basal cells reaching approximately 450-550 micron into the adipose layer between days 7 and 15. One important finding is that chemical depilation does not affect the telogen thickness of skin-the teleogen values for the epidermis and dermis immediately prior to and immediately after depilation were similar to those 23 days later at the beginning of the next telogen phase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hair / physiology*
  • Mice / anatomy & histology*
  • Mice / physiology
  • Radioactive Waste / adverse effects
  • Skin / anatomy & histology*
  • Skin / radiation effects


  • Radioactive Waste