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Review of Hair Follicle Dermal Papilla cells as in vitro screening model for hair growth

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Hair disorders such as hair loss (alopecia) and androgen dependent, excessive hair growth (hirsutism, hypertrichosis) may impact the social and psychological well‐being of an individual. Recent advances in understanding the biology of hair have accelerated the research and development of novel therapeutic and cosmetic hair growth agents. Preclinical models aid in dermocosmetic efficacy testing and claim substantiation of hair growth modulators. The in vitro models to investigate hair growth utilize the hair follicle Dermal Papilla cells (DPCs), specialized mesenchymal cells located at the base of hair follicle that play essential roles in hair follicular morphogenesis and postnatal hair growth cycles. In this review, we have compiled and discussed the extensively reported literature citing DPCs as in vitro model to study hair growth promoting and inhibitory effects. A variety of agents such as herbal and natural extracts, growth factors and cytokines, platelet‐rich plasma, placental extract, stem cells and conditioned medium, peptides, hormones, lipid‐nanocarrier, light, electrical and electromagnetic field stimulation, androgens and their analogs, stress‐serum and chemotherapeutic agents etc. have been examined for their hair growth modulating effects in DPCs. Effects on DPCs’ activity were determined from untreated (basal) or stress induced levels. Cell proliferation, apoptosis and secretion of growth factors were included as primary end‐point markers. Effects on a wide range of biomolecules and mechanistic pathways that play key role in the biology of hair growth were also investigated. This consolidated and comprehensive review summarizes the up‐to‐date information and understanding regarding DPCs based screening models for hair growth and may be helpful for researchers to select the appropriate assay system and biomarkers. This review highlights the pivotal role of DPCs in the forefront of hair research as screening platforms by providing insights into mechanistic action at cellular level, which may further direct the development of novel hair growth modulators.
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Keywords: Dermal papilla cells; Hair growth; Hirsutism; In vitro; Screening model

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: October 1, 2018

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