Hair cycle-dependent changes in skin immune functions: Anagen-associated depression of sensitization for contact hypersensitivity in mice

Udo Hofmann, Yoshiki Tokura, Takafumi Nishijima, Masahiro Takigawa, Ralf Paus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


To assess whether hair follicle cycling influences skin immunity, we examined the association between highly synchronized hair follicle cycling and experimental contact hypersensitivity in C57BL/6 mice. Hair cycle synchronization was performed by depilation of hair shafts on the back with telogen skin. Mice were sensitized on the lower back skin with picryl chloride between 0 and 25 d, after anagen induction by depilation, and challenged on the earlobes with picryl chloride 5 d later. The magnitude of contact hypersensitivity was significantly decreased in mice sensitized on day 1, was minimal on day 3 (early anagen), and slowly increased thereafter, reaching a Bevel comparable to day 0 on day 25 (telogen). The significantly depressed contact hypersensitivity response in anagen skin was confirmed in mice with spontaneously developed follicles. Lymph node cells taken from mice sensitized with picryl chloride on days 0, 1, and 3 after depilation were cultured in vitro in the presence of syngeneic, haptenized. Langerhans cell-enriched epidermal cells. Marked proliferative responses of lymph node cells to haptenized Langerhans cells were found in mice not only of day 0, but also of days 1 and 3, suggesting that immune T cells exist even in lymph node cells of the low-responsive mice. Flow cytometric analyses demonstrated that the number of intraepidermal Langerhans cells and their functions, including the expression of major histocompatibility complex class II, CD54, and CD86, and mixed epidermal cell lymphocyte reactions, were not-changed in skin on days 0, 1, and 3, These findings demonstrate that contact hypersensitivity is induced most effectively via skin with telogen hair follicles and that the depressed response in early anagen skin is not simply due to failure in Langerhans cell functions or sensitization of T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-604
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Cutaneous immunity
  • Delayed-type hypersensitivity
  • Hair growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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