Hair cycle-dependent changes in adrenergic skin innervation, and hair growth modulation by adrenergic drugs

Vladimir A. Botchkarev, Eva M.J. Peters, Natalia V. Botchkareva, Marcus Maurer, Ralf Paus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Skin nerves may exert 'trophic' functions during hair follicle development, growth, and/or cycling. Here, we demonstrate hair cycle-related plasticity in the sympathetic innervation of skin and hair follicle in C57BL/6 mice. Compared with telogen skin, the number of nerve fibers containing norepinephrine or immunoreactive for tyrosine hydroxylase increased during the early growth phase of the hair cycle (anagen) in dermis and subcutis. The number of these fibers declined again during late anagen. β2-adrenoreceptor-positive keratinocytes were transiently detectable in the noncycling hair follicle epithelium, especially in the isthmus and bulge region, but only during early anagen. In early anagen skin organ culture, the β2-adrenoreceptor agonist isoproterenol promoted hair cycle progression from anagen III to anagen IV. The observed hair cycle-dependent changes in adrenergic skin innervation on the one hand, and hair growth modulation by isoproterenol, accompanied by changes in β2-adrenoreceptor expression of selected regions of the hair follicle epithelium on the other, further support the concept that bi-directional interactions between the hair follicle and its innervation play a part in hair growth control. This invites one to systematically explore the neuropharmacologic manipulation of follicular neuroepithelial interactions as a novel therapeutic strategy for managing hair growth disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-887
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Hair follicle
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Neurotransmitter
  • Norepinephrine
  • Tyrosine hydroxylase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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