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 our 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.

Selection of currently available hair research and testing models:

  • Model to study hair growth and hair pigmentation

  • Model to study hair follicle stem cell differentiation and activities

  • Model to study hair follicle immune privilege (alopecia areata, scarring alopecia)

  • Model to study hair follicle epithelial transition (scarring alopecia)

  • Model to study interaction of skin or blood isolated immune cells with different hair follicle compartments (alopecia areata, scarring alopecia, acne, hidradenitis suppurativa)

  • Model to study the effect of environmental stressors in the hair follicle (UV, H2O2, pollutant)

Please click on images for detailed information.

Tissue section of human microdissected hair follicle after ex vivo organ culture stained with Keratin 85 (red), DAPI (blue, nuclear counterstaining)
macroscopic image of a follicular hair unit extraction
human microdissected hair follicle ex vivo
human microdissected hair follicle ex vivo
hair follicle after laser capture microdissection
human microdissected hair follicle after ex vivo organ culture
microdissected anagen VI hair follicle during ex vivo organ culture
hair follicle ex vivo organ culture
ex vivo hair organ culture
Hair pigmentation ex vivo organ culture
hair ex vivo organ culture
Macroscopic image of a microdissected anagen VI hair follicle

If you are interested to learn more about our Models and Solutions for Hair Follicle Research and Testing, please request the replay of our free webinar or download the webinar summary!

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