European Journal of Dermatology


Hair follicle stem cell marker nestin expression in regenerating hair follicles of patients with alopecia areata Volume 21, numéro 2, March-April 2011

Department of Dermatology, Kitasato University School of Medicine, 1-15-1 Kitasato, Minami Ward, Sagamihara 252-0373, Japan

Cells that are nestin positive and keratin 15 (K15) negative are located in the hair follicle pluripotent stem cell (hfPS) area (hfPSA). The hfPSA is located within the root of the sebaceous glands, in a region just above the hair follicle bulge area. In the current study, we investigated the expression pattern of the stem cell marker nestin in the hair follicle cycling of patients with alopecia areata. In the normal human scalp, the majority of hair follicles are in the anagen phase of development. While it is often difficult to identify nestin expression in late anagen phases, nestin-expressing cells are easily identified in proliferating cells located in the hfPSA of the growing early and middle anagen phase hair follicles. In patients exhibiting alopecia areata, the middle anagen hair follicles with growing cells were found to be nestin positive and K15 negative. In contrast, the hair follicles undergoing degradation in alopecia areata patients demonstrated lymphocytic infiltration within the nestin- and K15-negative dermal papilla cells. Both the nestin-positive hfPSA and K15-positive hair follicle bulge areas were not damaged in all phases. In addition, the regenerating early anagen hair follicles demonstrated nestin-positive and K15-negative cells within the dermal papilla and in the area surrounding the hair bulb. These results suggest that the nestin-positive cells play an important role not only in the hfPSA, but also in the dermal papilla in the regenerating hair follicle.