Correlation of proteolytic activities of organ cultured intact mouse skin with defined hair cycle stages

Ralf Paus, Niels Krejci-Papa, Lingna Li, Beate M. Czarnetzki, Robert M. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The cyclic growth activity of the hair follicle is characterized by substantial remodelling of the extracellular matrix, yet, little is known about the proteolytic activities regulating this process. In murine skin, hair cycling is highly synchronized and is associated with dramatic remodelling of all skin compartments. We therefore have assessed, in this pilot study, proteolytic activities of murine skin from various stages of the depilation-induced hair cycle. We show that the defined proteolytic activities displayed by organ cultured intact mouse skin differ between hair cycle stages. Skin with all follicles in telogen or mid anagen displayed only minimal lysis of collagen type I gels, while early anagen skin had significant collagenase activity. Skin cultured on gelatin gels at the air-liquid interphase ('histoculture') completely lysed the gel within 5 days when all follicles were in early anagen, while this was not observed with mid and very lateanagen skin. Zymography of conditioned medium from these cultures revealed the secretion of activated interstitial collagenase and of gelatinases of 72 and 92 kDa, with the maximum of interstitial collagenase activity secreted by anagen IV skin. Addition of TPA or TNF-α to the culture medium stimulated secreted collagenase type I activity. The C 57 BL-6 mouse offers an attractive model for dissecting and manipulating hair cycle-associated proteolysis in a physiologically relevant system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-209
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of dermatological science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Collagenase
  • Hair growth
  • Mouse skin
  • Organ culture
  • Proteolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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