NF-κB participates in mouse hair cycle control and plays distinct roles in the various pelage hair follicle types


  • K. Krieger
  • S.E. Millar
  • N. Mikuda
  • I. Krahn
  • J.E. Kloepper
  • M. Bertolini
  • C. Scheidereit
  • R. Paus
  • R. Schmidt-Ullrich


  • Journal of Investigative Dermatology


  • J Invest Dermatol 138 (2): 256-264


  • The transcription factor NF-κB controls key features of hair follicle (HF) development, but the role of NF-κB in adult HF cycle regulation remains obscure. Using NF-κB reporter mouse models, strong NF-κB activity was detected in the secondary hair germ (SHG) of late telogen and early anagen HFs, suggesting a potential role for NF-κB in HF stem/progenitor cell activation during anagen induction. At mid-anagen, NF-κB activity was observed in the inner root sheath (IRS) and unilaterally clustered in the HF matrix, which indicates that NF-κB activity is also involved in hair fiber morphogenesis during HF cycling. A mouse model with inducible NF-κB suppression in the epithelium revealed pelage hair-type-dependent functions of NF-κB in cycling HFs. NF-κB participates in telogen-anagen transition in awl and zigzag HFs, and is required for zigzag hair bending and guard HF cycling. Interestingly, zigzag hair shaft bending depends on non-canonical NF-κB signaling, which previously has only been associated with lymphoid cell biology. Furthermore, loss of guard HF cycling suggests that in this particular hair type NF-κB is indispensable for stem cell activation, maintenance and/or growth.