Protein kinase C inhibits human hair follicle growth and hair fibre production in organ culture

C. S. Harmon, T. D. Nevins, W. B. Bollag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


In this study we have used a human hair follicle whole-organ culture system to examine the effects of 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA), a potent activator of protein kinase C (PKC), on hair follicle growth and hair fibre production. Anagen hair follicles were isolated from human facial skin by microdissection and placed in suspension culture in supplemented Williams E medium. Hair follicle and hair fibre lengths were measured daily using an inverted microscope and cumulative growth values were calculated. Treatment with TPA resulted in a potent, dose-dependent inhibition of total cumulative hair follicle growth (IC50 = 1 nM). Hair follicles grew at a comparable rate for 4 days in the presence or absence of 10 nM TPA, after which growth of TPA-treated follicles ceased while control follicles grew by a further 0.8 mm over the subsequent 6 days. In contrast. 10 nM TPA treatment did not affect hair fibre elongation for a period of 8 days, after which TPA-treated fibre production ceased while control fibres grew by a further 0.79 mm over the subsequent 7 days. Incubation of hair follicles with TPA resulted in a 41% inhibition of hair fibre protein synthesis, as measured biochemically from the incorporation of 3H-leucine using a differential alkali extraction method. The inhibitory effect of TPA on follicle growth was partially prevented bv preincubation with the selective PKC inhibitor H-7, and almost completely prevented by preincubation with the more potent PKC inhibitor Ro 31-7549. Neither agent alone significantly affected follicle growth at concentrations that reversed the TPA response. These findings indicate that PKC is a negative regulator of hair follicle growth, and suggest that PKC may play a part in the transduction of follicular growth-inhibitory signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-693
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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