Immunohistochemical localization of thyroid hormone nuclear receptors in human hair follicles and in vitro effect of L-triiodothyronine on cultured cells of hair follicles and skin

Ahsan, M.K.; Urano, Y.; Kato, S.; Oura, H.; Arase, S.

Journal of Medical Investigation Jmi 44(3-4): 179-184


ISSN/ISBN: 1343-1420
PMID: 9597806
Accession: 008821394

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To investigate the cellular basis of the action of thyroid hormone on hair follicles, we studied the immunohistochemical localization of thyroid hormone receptors (TRs) in human scalp skin using a mouse monoclonal antibody, TR alpha 1 (C4) against TRs. Immunoreactive TRs were detected in the nuclei of the outer root sheath cells (ORSCs), dermal papilla cells (DPCs), fibrous sheath cells of hair follicles, hair arrector pili muscle cells and sebaceous gland cells. However, nuclei of hair matrix cells were not clearly stained with TR alpha 1 (C4). The epidermis showed positive nuclear staining by the antibody. Ductal and secretory portions of eccrine sweat glands were also stained with the antibody as we had expected. In the dermis, almost all the cell components including fibroblasts, vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells, and Schwann cells were positively stained. Immunofluorescence also showed TRs expression in cultured ORSCs, DPCs, epidermal keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts. L-triiodothyronine stimulated the proliferation and/or metabolism of all these four types of cells significantly, although there was variation at the rate of stimulation. Whereas, structurally similar, but metabolically inactive analog, reverse T3 had no effect. These results demonstrate the presence of thyroid hormone nuclear receptors in human hair follicles. Furthermore, the presence of TRs in different cell types in the skin suggests numerous direct effects of thyroid hormone on this target tissue.