Title: Radiation sensitivity of human hair follicles in SCID-hu mice.
Authors: Kyoizumi S, Suzuki T, Teraoka S, Seyama T
Journal: Radiat Res 1998 Jan;149(1):11-8
PMID: 9421149, UI: 98081502
Affiliated institution: Department of Radiobiology, Radiation Effects Research Foundation, Hiroshima, Japan.
We developed an experimental model for studying the growth and epilation of the human hair follicle by implanting human scalp tissue onto immunodeficient C.B-17 scid/scid mice. The skin grafts showed continuous growth of black human hairs for at least 1 year and maintained the normal histological structure of a human hair follicle and other tissues associated with the skin. Using this in vivo model, we evaluated the effect of irradiation on the function of human hair follicles. Localized X irradiation (1 to 6 Gy) induced hair loss dose-dependently and synchronously in the third week after irradiation. The hairs undergoing epilation showed a gradual decrease in width toward the root. The minimum width at the thinnest portion of the surviving hair 4 weeks after irradiation suggested that epilation resulted from the breaking of hairs when the hair width decreased to less than 20 microm. After the highest-dose irradiation, the normal structure of the hair bulb was totally abrogated, and long and narrow epithelial tissues associated with regressed papillary cells remained. The surviving epithelia were morphologically similar to the outer epithelial sheath of the follicle associated with palisadic basal cell layers. In the third week some cells in the basal layers of the surviving epithelium in each follicle expressed proliferating cell nuclear antigen. By about 9 weeks after irradiation, the complete structure of the follicle regenerated, with hair growth activity even in the grafts irradiated at the highest dose, although about 30% of the hairs did not regrow. These findings suggest that follicular stem cells that survive high-dose exposure in the sheath-like epithelial tissue can reproduce the complete follicle structure. This animal model can be used to assess the effects of radiation exposure on human skin and to identify and characterize human follicular stem cells.