Minoxidil sulfation in the hair follicle

Skin Pharmacol. 1994;7(6):335-9. doi: 10.1159/000211315.


The in vivo model which may be the most accurate for the ability to predict hair growth in humans, and which was utilized in the preclinical development of minoxidil, is the adult stumptailed macaque. Previous reports have suggested that the enzyme activity which accounts for the activation of minoxidil, i.e., minoxidil sulfotransferase, is present in skin. We have demonstrated that scalp skin from the stumptailed macaque contains minoxidil sulfotransferase activity, and further with dissection of that scalp skin into epidermis, dermis and hair follicle, most of sulfotransferase activity was present in the follicle. Sulfotransferase activity in the hair follicle in freeze-dried scalp skin sections from 9 stumptailed macaques ranged from 47 to 84% of the total (mean 61 +/- 12%). Much less minoxidil sulfotransferase activity was measured in the epidermis (mean 18 +/- 11%, with a range of 2-37%) and the dermis (mean 21 +/- 8%, with a range of 4-35%) of these scalp sections. These results indicate that the scalp skin from the stumptailed macaque contains minoxidil sulfotransferase activity and this activity is largely localized in the hair follicle which may account for its ability to stimulate hair growth in this animal model.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Hair / metabolism*
  • Macaca
  • Minoxidil / metabolism*
  • Sulfates / metabolism
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism*


  • Sulfates
  • Minoxidil
  • Sulfotransferases
  • minoxidil sulfotransferase