J Invest Dermatol 137_7_1434-1444 - JLemasters et al.pdf (3.75 MB)

Compartmentation of mitochondrial and oxidative metabolism in growing hair follicles: a ring of fire

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posted on 2023-05-03, 10:53 authored by John Lemasters, Venkat Ramshesh, Gregory Lovelace, John Lim, Graham Wright, Duane HarlandDuane Harland, Thomas Dawson Jr
Little is known about the energetics of growing hair follicles, particularly in the mitochondrially abundant bulb. Here, mitochondrial and oxidative metabolism was visualized by multiphoton and light sheet microscopy in cultured bovine hair follicles and plucked human hairs. Mitochondrial membrane potential, cell viability, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and secretory granules were assessed with parameter-indicating fluorophores. In growing follicles, lower bulb epithelial cells had high viability, and mitochondria were polarized. Most epithelially generated ROS co-localized with polarized mitochondria. As the imaging plane captured more central and distal cells, mitochondrial membrane potential disappeared abruptly at a transition to a nonfluorescent core continuous with the hair shaft. Approaching the transition, mitochondrial membrane potential and ROS increased, and secretory granules disappeared. ROS and mitochondrial membrane potential were strongest in a circumferential paraxial ring at putative sites for formation of the outer cortex/cuticle of the hair shaft. By contrast, polarized mitochondria in dermal papillar fibroblasts produced minimal ROS. Plucked hairs showed a similar abrupt transition of degranulation/depolarization near sites of keratin deposition, as well as an ROS-generating paraxial ring of fire. Hair movement out of the follicle appeared to occur independently of follicular bulb bioenergetics by a tractor mechanism involving the inner and outer root sheaths.


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© 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier, Inc. on behalf of the Society for Investigative Dermatology. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (


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Journal title

Journal of Investigative Dermatology




Lemasters, J. L., Ramshesh, V. K., Lovelace, G. L., Lim, J., Wright, G. D., Harland, D., & Dawson Jr, T. L. (2017). Compartmentation of mitochondrial and oxidative metabolism in growing hair follicles: a ring of fire. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 137(7), 1434–1444. doi:10.1016/j.jid.2017.02.983

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