Hair Shaft Miniaturization Causes Stem Cell Depletion Through Mechanosensory Signals Mediated by a Piezo1-Calcium-TNF-α Axis

    January 2022 in “Cell Stem Cell
    Yuhua Xie, Daoming Chen, Kaiju Jiang, Ling Song, Nannan Qian, Yingxue Du, Yang Yong, Fengchao Wang, Ting Chen
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    TLDR Hair thinning causes stem cell loss through a process involving Piezo1, calcium, and TNF-α.
    The study "Hair shaft miniaturization causes stem cell depletion through mechanosensory signals mediated by a Piezo1-calcium-TNF-α axis" reveals that hair shaft miniaturization, common in aging, androgenic alopecia, and genetic hypotrichosis disorders, leads to hair follicle stem cell (HFSC) loss. This loss is due to the shrinkage of the physical niche size, causing mechanical compression of HFSCs and triggering their death (apoptosis) through the activation of the mechanosensitive channel Piezo1. The study also found that the presence of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), a cell death-promoting signal, in combination with Piezo1 activation, induced robust apoptosis. In experiments with genetically modified mice, the removal of Piezo1 significantly decreased apoptosis, suggesting it as a potential therapeutic target for preventing stem cell loss.
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