Communication network in the follicular papilla and connective tissue sheath through gap junctions in human hair follicles

Makiko Iguchi, Masahiro Hara, Hideaki Manome, Hiromi Kobayasi, Hachiro Tagami, Setsuya Aiba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions play a crucial role in the induction of life-long cyclic transformations of hair follicles. Many studies have already demonstrated several candidates for the soluble factors secreted from the mesenchymal components of the hair follicle, i.e. the follicular papilla (FP) and connective tissue sheath (CTS), which may be responsible for hair cycling. In this paper, we focused on cell-cell contact between FP cells (FPCs), between CTS cells (CTSCs), and between FPCs and CTSCs that may allow these mesenchymal components to function as a syncytium during hair cycling. Electron microscopic examination of the FP and the CTS obtained from human scalp revealed a tri-lamellar structure of the plasma membranes, which is a characteristic of gap junctions at the cell-cell contacting area. The immunohistochemical study with anticonnexin 43 Ab using a confocal laser scanning microscope demonstrated numerous spotted positive signals scattered throughout the FP. In the CTS, spotted positive signals were arranged linearly along the basement membrane of the hair follicle. In particular, these positive spots were aggregated in the transitional region between the FP and the CTS. By Western blot analysis of total protein extracts from the cultured FPCs and neonatal human dermal fibroblasts using anticonnexin 43 antibody, a positive band corresponding to connexin 43 was detected at 43 kDa on both the FPC lane and fibroblast lane. These findings suggest that the FP and the CTS form a communicating network through gap junctions, which may play a role in controlling the dynamic structural changes of hair follicles during hair cycling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-288
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jun


  • Communication network
  • Connexin
  • Follicular papilla cell
  • Gap junction
  • Hair follicle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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