J Dermatol Sci. 2010 Nov;60(2):67-73. Epub 2010 Sep 29.

Hair follicle is a target of stress hormone and autoimmune reactions.

Ito T.


Department of Dermatology, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, 1-20-1 Handayama, Higashi-ku, Hamamatsu 431-1192, Japan. itoutai@hama-med.ac.jp


Interest in the hair follicle (HF) has recently increased, yet the detailed mechanisms of HF function and immune privilege (IP) have not yet been elucidated. This review discusses the critical points of immunobiology and hormonal aspects of HFs. The HF is a unique mini-organ because it has its own immune system and hormonal milieu. In addition, the HF immune and hormonal systems may greatly affect skin immunobiology. Therefore, knowledge of HF immunobiology and hormonal aspects will lead to a better understanding of skin biology. The HF has a unique hair cycle (anagen, catagen and telogen) and contains stem cells in the bulge area. The HF is closely related to sebaceous glands and the nervous system. This article reviews the interaction between the endocrine/immune system and HFs, including the pathogenesis of alopecia areata associated with stress.

Copyright © 2010 Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID: 20943348 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]