Self-organizing and stochastic behaviors during the regeneration of hair stem cells

Maksim V. Plikus, Ruth E. Baker, Chih Chiang Chen, Clyde Fare, Damon De La Cruz, Thomas Andl, Philip K. Maini, Sarah E. Millar, Randall Widelitz, Cheng Ming Chuong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Scopus citations


Stem cells cycle through active and quiescent states. Large populations of stem cells in an organ may cycle randomly or in a coordinated manner. Although stem cell cycling within single hair follicles has been studied, less is known about regenerative behavior in a hair follicle population. By combining predictive mathematical modeling with in vivo studies in mice and rabbits, we show that a follicle progresses through cycling stages by continuous integration of inputs from intrinsic follicular and extrinsic environmental signals based on universal patterning principles. Signaling from the WNT/bone morphogenetic protein activator/inhibitor pair is coopted to mediate interactions among follicles in the population. This regenerative strategy is robust and versatile because relative activator/inhibitor strengths can be modulated easily, adapting the organism to different physiological and evolutionary needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-589
Number of pages4
Issue number6029
StatePublished - 29 Apr 2011


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