1. Department of Cell Biology, College of Basic Medical Sciences, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, China;
2. Experimental Center of Basic Medicine, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China;
3. College of Bioengineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China.
The canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway plays an important role in hair cycle induction. Wnt5a is a non-canonical Wnt family member that generally antagonizes canonical Wnt signaling in other systems. In hair follicles, Wnt5a and canonical Wnt are both expressed in cells in the telogen stage. Wnt5a has been shown to be critical for controlling hair cell fate. However, the role that Wnt5a plays in the transition from the telogen to anagen stage is unknown. In this study, using whole-mount in situ hybridization, we show that Wnt5a is produced by several other cell types, excluding dermal papilla cells, throughout the hair cycle. For example, Wnt5a is expressed in bulge and secondary hair germ cells in the telogen stage. Our studies focused on the depilated 8-week-old mouse as a synchronized model of hair growth. Interestingly, overexpression of adenovirus Wnt5a in the dorsal skin of mice led to the elongation of the telogen stage and inhibition of the initiation of the anagen stage. However, following an extended period of time, four pelage hair types grew from hairless skin that was induced by Wnt5a, and the structure of these new hair shafts was normal. Using microarray analysis and quantitative arrays, we showed that the expression of β-catenin and some target genes of canonical Wnt signaling decreased after Wnt5a treatment. These data demonstrate that Wnt5a may inhibit the telogen stage to maintain a quiescent state of the hair follicle.
Keywords: Wnt5a, Hair growth, Wnt signaling pathway, Hair cycle.