Alopecia areata: updates from the mouse perspective.

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J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc 2013 Dec; 16(1):S23-4.




Alopecia areata (AA) is a cell-mediated autoimmune disease that targets actively growing hair follicles in mammals, including humans and mice. Development of the C3H/HeJ spontaneous mouse model AA nearly 20 years ago provided a much needed tool to test the hypotheses and ultimately serve as a preclinical model for drug testing. Discoveries in both human AA patients and the mouse model supported each other and lead to discoveries on the incredibly complex genetic basis of this disease. The discovery that A/J, MRL/MpJ, SJL/J, and SWR/J strains also develop AA now allows genome-wide association mapping studies to expand the list of genes underlying this disease. Potential new targets for unraveling the pathogenesis of AA include the role of retinoic acid metabolism in the severity of disease and hair shaft proteins that may be either the inciting antigen or ultimate target of the immune reaction leading to breakage of the shaft causing clinical alopecia. Comparing these model systems with human and mouse clinical disease, for both discovery and validation of the discoveries, continues to resolve the complex questions surrounding AA. J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc 2013 Dec; 16(1):S23-4.