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Neurogenic inflammation in stress-induced termination of murine hair growth is promoted by nerve growth factor

: Peters, E.M.J.; Handjiski, B.; Kuhlmei, A.; Hagen, E.; Bielas, H.; Braun, A.; Klapp, B.F.; Paus, R.; Arck, P.C.

The American journal of pathology 165 (2004), No.1, pp.259-271
ISSN: 0002-9440
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ITEM ()

Recently, we have revealed the existence of a "brain-hair follicle axis" in murine skin and have identified the neuropeptide substance P (SP) as a key mediator of stress-induced hair growth inhibition in vivo. Published evidence suggests that increased numbers of SP-immunoreactive sensory fibers, as seen in the dermis of stressed mice in anagen-catagen transition, are a result of transient high levels of nerve growth factor (NGF). Thus, we now aimed at dissecting the role of NGF in stress-triggered hair growth termination in our murine model. By real time PCR and immunohistochemistry, stress-exposed mice showed an up-regulation of NGF and its low-affinity receptor p75NTR; the NGF high-affinity receptor TrkA was moderately down-regulated. On neutralization of NGF, premature onset of catagen, apoptosis, and increased number/activation of perifollicular mast cells and antigen-presenting cells, which reflects the skin response to stress, was significantly abrogated. Stress or subcutaneous injection of recombinant NGF (to mimic stress) resulted in an increased percentage of SP+ neurons in dorsal root ganglia, as measured by retrograde tracing. Taken together, these data suggest that NGF is a central element in the perifollicular neurogenic inflammation that develops during the murine skin response to stress and antagonizing NGF may be a promising therapeutic approach to counter the negative effect of stress on hair growth.