Involvement of hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor and Met receptor signaling in hair follicle morphogenesis and cycling

Gerd Lindner, Andreas Menrad, Ermanno Gherardi, Glenn Merlino, Pia Welker, Bori Handjiski, Birgit Roloff, Ralf Paus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


HGF/SF and its receptor (Met) are principal mediators of mesenchymal- epithelial interactions in several different systems and have recently been implicated in the control of hair follicle (HF) growth. We have studied their expression patterns during HF morphogenesis and cycling in C57BL/6 mice, whereas functional hair growth effects of HGF/SF were assessed in vivo by analysis of transgenic mice and in skin organ culture. In normal mouse skin, follicular expression of HGF/SF and Met was strikingly localized: HGF/SF was found only in the HF mesenchyme (dermal papilla fibroblasts) and Met in the neighboring hair bulb keratinocytes. Both HGF/SF and Met expression peaked during the initial phases of HF morphogenesis, the stage of active hair growth (early and mid anagen), and during the apoptosis-driven HF regression (catagen). Met+ cells in the regressing epithelial strand appeared to be protected from undergoing apoptosis. Compared to wild-type controls, transgenic mice overexpressing HGF/SF under the control of the MT-1 promoter had twice as many developing HF and displayed accelerated HF development on postnatal day 3. They also showed significant catagen retardation on P17. In organ culture and in vivo, HGF/SF i.c. resulted in a significant catagen retardation. These results demonstrate an important role of HGF/SF and Met in murine hair growth control and suggest that Met-mediated signaling might be exploited for therapeutic manipulation of human hair growth disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-332
Number of pages14
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • HGF/SF
  • Hair growth
  • Keratinocytes
  • Murine hepatocyte growth factor receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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