Telomere Dynamics and Telomerase in the Biology of Hair Follicles and their Stem Cells as a Model for Aging Research

Rivka C. Stone, Abraham Aviv, Ralf Paus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

In this review, we propose that telomere length dynamics play an important but underinvestigated role in the biology of the hair follicle (HF), a prototypic, cyclically remodeled miniorgan that shows an intriguing aging pattern in humans. Whereas the HF pigmentary unit ages quickly, its epithelial stem cell (ESC) component and regenerative capacity are surprisingly aging resistant. Telomerase-deficient mice with short telomeres display an aging phenotype of hair graying and hair loss that is attributed to impaired HF ESC mobilization. Yet, it remains unclear whether the function of telomerase and telomeres in murine HF biology translate to the human system. Therefore, we propose new directions for future telomere research of the human HF. Such research may guide the development of novel treatments for selected disorders of human hair growth or pigmentation (e.g., chemotherapy-induced alopecia, telogen effluvium, androgenetic alopecia, cicatricial alopecia, graying). It might also increase the understanding of the global role of telomeres in aging-related human disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1031-1040
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Volume141
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology

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