Distinct patterns of NCAM expression are associated with defined stages of murine hair follicle morphogenesis and regression

Sven Müller-Röver, Eva J.M. Peters, Vladimir A. Botchkarev, Andrei Panteleyev, Ralf Paus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Hair follicle development, growth (anagen), and regression (catagen) largely result from bidirectional epithelial-mesenchymal interactions whose molecular basis is still unclear. Because adhesion molecules are critically involved in pattern formation and because the fundamental importance of neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) for feather development has been demonstrated, we studied the protein expression patterns of NCAM during hair follicle development and regression in the C57BL/6 mouse model. During murine hair follicle development, NCAM immunoreactivity (IR) was first detected on epithelial hair placodes and later on selected keratinocytes in the distal outer root sheath. Mesenchymal NCAM immunoreactivity (IR) was noted on fibroblasts of the future dermal papilla (DP) and the perifollicular connective tissue sheath. Fetal hair follicle elongation coincided with strong, ubiquitous dermal NCAM IR, which remained strong until the follicles entered into their first neonatal catagen. At this time, the strong interfollicular dermal NCAM IR decreased substantially. During consecutive hair cycles, mesenchymal NCAM IR was seen exclusively on DP and perifollicular connective tissue sheath fibroblasts and on the trailing cells of regressing catagen hair follicles. These highly restricted and developmentally controlled expression patterns suggest an important role for NCAM in hair follicle topobiology during morphogenesis and cyclic remodeling of this miniorgan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1401-1409
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Adhesion molecules
  • Catagen
  • Connective tissue sheath
  • Dermal papilla
  • Fibroblasts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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