Neuroendocrinology of the hair follicle: Principles and clinical perspectives

Ralf Paus, Ewan A. Langan, Silvia Vidali, Yuval Ramot, Bogi Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The human hair follicle (HF) is an exquisitely hormone-sensitive mini-organ that undergoes cyclical remodeling. It is also a source and target of numerous neurohormones, neuropeptides, and neurotransmitters that regulate HF growth, pigmentation, remodeling, immune status, stem cell biology, and energy metabolism. Indeed, organ-cultured human scalp HFs can be utilized to identify 'novel' clinically relevant functions of major neuromediators. This is pertinently illustrated by the discoveries of: (i) thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) as a hair growth and pigmentation stimulator; (ii) TRH and thyrotropin (TSH) as potent promoters of mitochondrial activity and regulators of keratin expression; and (iii) prolactin as an epithelial stem cell modulator. Thus, HF neuroendocrinology affords insights well beyond hair growth and dermatoendocrinology, uncovering new translationally relevant neuroendocrinology principles and novel therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-570
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Molecular Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • CRH
  • Mitochondria
  • Prolactin
  • Skin
  • TRH
  • TSH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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