Document Type


Publication Date




JAX Source

Front Cell Dev Biol 2021 Feb 5; 9:571474



First Page


Last Page










Hair follicles cycle through periods of growth (anagen), regression (catagen), rest (telogen), and release (exogen). Telogen is further divided into refractory and competent telogen based on expression of bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) and wingless-related MMTV integration site 7A (WNT7A). During refractory telogen hair follicle stem cells (HFSC) are inhibited. Retinoic acid synthesis proteins localized to the hair follicle and this localization pattern changed throughout the hair cycle. In addition, excess retinyl esters arrested hair follicles in telogen. The purpose of this study was to further define these hair cycle changes. BMP4 and WNT7A expression was also used to distinguish refractory from competent telogen in C57BL/6J mice fed different levels of retinyl esters from two previous studies. These two studies produced opposite results; and differed in the amount of retinyl esters the dams consumed and the age of the mice when the different diet began. There were a greater percentage of hair follicles in refractory telogen both when mice were bred on an unpurified diet containing copious levels of retinyl esters (study 1) and consumed excess levels of retinyl esters starting at 12 weeks of age, as well as when mice were bred on a purified diet containing adequate levels of retinyl esters (study 2) and remained on this diet at 6 weeks of age. WNT7A expression was consistent with these results. Next, the localization of vitamin A metabolism proteins in the two stages of telogen was examined. Keratin 6 (KRT6) and cellular retinoic acid binding protein 2 (CRABP2) localized almost exclusively to refractory telogen hair follicles in study 1. However, KRT6 and CRABP2 localized to both competent and refractory telogen hair follicles in mice fed adequate and high levels of retinyl esters in study 2. In mice bred and fed an unpurified diet retinol dehydrogenase SDR16C5, retinal dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH1A2), and cytochrome p450 26B1 (CYP26B1), enzymes and proteins involved in RA metabolism, localized to BMP4 positive refractory telogen hair follicles. This suggests that vitamin A may contribute to the inhibition of HFSC during refractory telogen in a dose dependent manner.


This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).