E- and P-cadherin expression during murine hair follicle morphogenesis and cycling

S. Müller-Röver, Y. Tokura, P. Welker, F. Furukawa, H. Wakita, M. Takigawa, Ralf Paus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The role of adhesion molecules in the control of hair follicle (HF) morphogenesis, regression and cycling is still rather enigmatic. Since the adhesion molecules E- and P-cadherin (Ecad and Pcad) are functionally important, e.g. during embryonic pattern formation, we have studied their expression patterns during neonatal HF morphogenesis and cycling in C57/BL6 mice by immunohistology and semi-quantitative RT-PCR. The expression of both cadherins was strikingly hair cycle-dependent and restricted to distinct anatomical HF compartments. During HF morphogenesis, hair bud keratinocytes displayed strong Ecad and Pcad immunoreactivity (IR). While neonatal epidermis showed Ecad IR in all epidermal layers, Pcad IR was restricted to the basal layer. During later stages of HF morphogenesis and during anagen IV-VI of the adolescent murine hair cycle, the outer root sheath showed strong E- and Pcad IR. Instead, the outermost portion of the hair matrix and the inner root sheath displayed isolated Ecad IR, while the innermost portion of the hair matrix exhibited isolated Pcad IR. During telogen, all epidermal and follicular keratinocytes showed strong Ecad IR. This is in contrast to Pcad, whose IR was stringently restricted to matrix and secondary hair germ keratinocytes which are in closest proximity to the dermal papilla. These findings suggest that isolated or combined E- and/or Pcad expression is involved in follicular pattern formation by segregating HF keratinocytes into functionally distinct subpopulations; most notably, isolated Pcad expression may segregate those hair matrix keratinocytes into one functional epithelial tissue unit, which is particularly susceptible to growth control by dermal papilla-derived morphogens. The next challenge is to define which secreted agents implicated in hair growth control modulate these follicular cadherin expression patterns, and to define how these basic parameters of HF topobiology are altered during common hair growth disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-246
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Adhesion molecules
  • C57BL/6
  • Hair cycle
  • Keratinocytes
  • Pattern formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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