The cycling hair follicle as an ideal systems biology research model

Yusur Al-Nuaimi, Gerold Baier, Rachel E.B. Watson, Cheng Ming Chuong, Ralf Paus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the postgenomic era, systems biology has rapidly emerged as an exciting field predicted to enhance the molecular understanding of complex biological systems by the use of quantitative experimental and mathematical approaches. Systems biology studies how the components of a biological system (e.g. genes, transcripts, proteins, metabolites) interact to bring about defined biological function or dysfunction. Living systems may be divided into five dimensions of complexity: (i) molecular; (ii) structural; (iii) temporal; (iv) abstraction and emergence; and (v) algorithmic. Understanding the details of these dimensions in living systems is the challenge that systems biology aims to address. Here, we argue that the hair follicle (HF), one of the signature features of mammals, is a perfect and clinically relevant model for systems biology research. The HF represents a stem cell-rich, essentially autonomous mini-organ, whose cyclic transformations follow a hypothetical intrafollicular " hair cycle clock" (HCC). This prototypic neuroectodermal-mesodermal interaction system, at the cross-roads of systems and chronobiology, encompasses various levels of complexity as it is subject to both intrafollicular and extrafollicular inputs (e.g. intracutaneous timing mechanisms with neural and systemic stimuli). Exploring how the cycling HF addresses the five dimensions of living systems, we argue that a systems biology approach to the study of hair growth and cycling, in man and mice, has great translational medicine potential. Namely, the easily accessible human HF invites preclinical and clinical testing of novel hypotheses generated with this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-713
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Volume19
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Systems Biology
Hair Follicle
Research
Biological systems
Hair
Mammals
Translational Medical Research
Bioelectric potentials
Metabolites
Stem cells
Medicine
Clocks
Stem Cells
Genes
Testing
Growth
Proteins

Keywords

  • Anagen
  • BMP
  • Chronobiology
  • Clock genes
  • Hair cycle
  • Telogen
  • WNT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology

Cite this

The cycling hair follicle as an ideal systems biology research model. / Al-Nuaimi, Yusur; Baier, Gerold; Watson, Rachel E.B.; Chuong, Cheng Ming; Paus, Ralf.

In: Experimental Dermatology, Vol. 19, No. 8, 01.08.2010, p. 707-713.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Al-Nuaimi, Yusur ; Baier, Gerold ; Watson, Rachel E.B. ; Chuong, Cheng Ming ; Paus, Ralf. / The cycling hair follicle as an ideal systems biology research model. In: Experimental Dermatology. 2010 ; Vol. 19, No. 8. pp. 707-713.
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