Human hair follicle organ culture

We apply different advanced microdissection techniques to isolate hair follicles from human scalp skin or follicular units. This allows us to efficiently culture either microdissected amputated/full-length hair follicle or an entire follicular unit. We perform a careful quality control prior to the culture and treatment to allow the selection of only anagen VI hair follicles. In our assays, hair follicles are cultured ex vivo in a serum-free defined medium.

We have a long-standing expertise, documented in publications, in performing several analyses for investigating hair follicle responses, including hair follicle cytotoxicity, cycle, pigmentation, stem cell activity, immunological phenotype, aging, and many more. Thanks to our novel technique by which we can perform qRT-PCR or RNAseq analyses using very few hair follicles, it is possible now to combine gene expression profiling with in situ evaluation of protein, mRNA expression, and activities (immuno-histomorphometry, in situ hybridization, in situ zymography) in a single experiment, along with in vitro analysis using culture medium (e.g. cytotoxicity and cytokine secretion assays).

We are also eager to share our expertise in revealing how test agents, exogenous and endogenous modulators or cells, environmental stressors, or new targets affect hair follicle responses by performing functional mechanism of action assays, by employing specific agonists, antagonists, neutralizing antibodies, or targeted gene silencing (siRNA).

By using cutting-edge techniques, our assays are ideal also to investigate which hair follicle-associated cell population (hair matrix keratinocytes, outer root sheath keratinocytes, dermal papilla fibroblasts) specifically respond to the treatment.

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