Hair follicle apoptosis and Bcl-2

Sven Müller-Röver, Heidi Rossiter, Gerd Lindner, Eva M.J. Peters, Thomas S. Kupper, Ralf Paus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Hair follicle (HF) morphogenesis and cycling are characterized by a tightly controlled balance of proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. The members of the bcl-2 family of proto-oncogenes are important key players in the apoptosis control machinery of most cell types. Bcl-2, an apoptosis inhibitor, and Bax, an apoptosis promoter, show tightly regulated, hair cycle-dependent expression patterns: during catagen, the distal ORS of the HF remains strongly positive for Bcl-2 and Bax; in contrast, the proximal epithelial part of the HF loses most Bcl-2 expression while it remains strongly positive for Bax. In Bcl-2 null mice, skin becomes markedly hypopigmented during the first postnatal anagen probably due to increased melanocyte apoptosis. Reportedly, these mice also show a retardation of the first anagen development after birth. Transgenic mice overexpressing Bcl-2 under the control of the keratin-1 promoter display multifocal epidermal hyperplasia and aberrant expression of keratin-6, while alterations of HF cycling have not been investigated. Surprisingly, Bcl-2 overexpression under the control of the keratin-14 promoter leads to accelerated catagen progression and increased chemotherapy-induced apoptosis, HF dystrophy and alopecia. Transgenic mice overexpressing Bcl-X(L), another anti-apoptotic bcl-2 family member, under the control of the K14 promoter, reportedly also display accelerated catagen development. These and other Bcl-2 transgenic and null mice are now available to further dissect the as yet unclear, and likely complex, role of Bcl-2 in HF growth and pigmentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-277
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Anagen
  • Bax
  • Catagen
  • Keratin
  • Keratin mice
  • Mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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