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Damage of hair follicle stem cells and alteration of keratin expression in external radiation-induced acute alopecia

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Alopecia is known as a symptom of acute radiation, yet little is known concerning the mechanism of this phenomenon and the alteration of hair protein profiles. To examine this, 6-week-old male C57/BL6 mice were exposed to 6 Gy of X-ray irradiation, which caused acute alopecia. Their hair and skin were collected, and hair proteins were analyzed with liquid chromatography/electrospray-ionization mass spectrometry and immunohistochemistry. No change was observed in the composition of major hair keratins, such as Krt81, Krt83 and Krt86. However, cytokeratin Krt15 and CD34, which are known as hair follicle stem cell markers, were decreased in alopecic mice. Cytokeratin Krt5, which is known as a marker for basal and undifferentiated keratinocytes, was increased in the epidermis of alopecic mice. These findings suggest that radiation damages hair stem cells and the differentiation of keratinocytes in the epidermis. For the evaluation of radiation exposure, chromosomal aberration is considered to be the gold standard, yet our results suggest that Krt5 may be a novel biological marker for acute radiation symptoms.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Biomedical Sciences, Division of Medical Life Sciences, Hirosaki University Graduate School of Health Sciences, Hirosaki, Japan

Publication date: January 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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