Overexpression of Bcl-2 protects from ultraviolet B-induced apoptosis but promotes hair follicle regression and chemotherapy-induced alopecia

Sven Müller-Röver, Heidemarie Rossiter, Ralf Paus, Bori Handjiski, Eva M.J. Peters, Jo Ellen Murphy, Lars Mecklenburg, Thomas S. Kupper

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40 Scopus citations


Hair follicle (HF) growth and regression is an exquisitely regulated process of cell proliferation followed by massive cell death and is accompanied by cyclical expression of the apoptosis regulatory gene pair, Bcl-2 and Bax. To further investigate the role of Bcl-2 expression in the control of hair growth and keratinocyte apoptosis, we have used transgenic mice that overexpress human Bcl-2 in basal epidermis and in the outer root sheath under the control of the human keratin-14 promoter (K14/Bcl-2). When irradiated with ultraviolet B (UVB) light, K14/Bcl-2 mice developed about 5-10-fold fewer sunburn cells (ie, apoptotic keratinocytes) in the basal layer of the epidermis, compared to wild-type mice, whereas cultures of primary keratinocytes from transgenic mice were completely resistant to UVB-induced histone formation, at doses that readily induced histone release from wild-type cells. K14/Bcl-2 mice show no alteration of neonatal hair follicle morphogenesis or of the onset of the first wave of HF regression (catagen). However, compared to wild-type controls, K14/Bcl-2 mice subsequently displayed a significant acceleration of spontaneous catagen progression. During chemotherapy-induced alopecia, follicular dystrophy was promoted in K14/Bcl-2 mice. Thus, although K14-driven overexpression of Bcl-2 protected murine epidermal keratinocytes from UVB-induced apoptosis, it surprisingly promoted catagen- and chemotherapy-associated keratinocyte apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1395-1405
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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