Bulk gene profiles of hair follicles is often not optimal for investigating the response of certain small hair follicle cell populations, e.g. dermal papilla. Therefore, we routinely apply laser capture microdissection (LCM) to isolate small cell populations from human hair follicles without mechanically isolating the compartments, in order to prevent alteration of the gene expression profile.

We have optimized our technique for the preparation of tissue sections and RNA isolation from anatomically defined epithelial and mesenchymal HF compartments after laser microdissection using our Zeiss PALM LCM unit. By applying our technique, we can isolate sufficient high quality RNA that can be used for RNAseq analysis. Our optimized LCM method allows us to isolate cell populations from dermal papilla, dermal cup, germinative hair matrix, and pre-cortical hair matrix.


Our method can effectively be applied to examine the transcriptome of anatomically defined region of a human hair follicle. This is crucial to identify which hair follicle cell populations respond to the treatment of compounds/formulations after ex vivo hair follicle organ culture or to identify novel therapeutic targets by investigating the differences in hair follicle compartments under physiological and pathological conditions, and different stages of the human hair cycle.