Fine structure and immunocytochemistry of monotreme hairs, with emphasis on the inner root sheath and trichohyalin-based cornification during hair evolution
Article first published online: 8 JUL 2004
Copyright © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Journal of Morphology
Volume 261, Issue 3, pages 345–363, September 2004
How to Cite
Alibardi, L. (2004), Fine structure and immunocytochemistry of monotreme hairs, with emphasis on the inner root sheath and trichohyalin-based cornification during hair evolution. J. Morphol., 261: 345–363. doi: 10.1002/jmor.10254
- Issue published online: 8 JUL 2004
- Article first published online: 8 JUL 2004
- University of Bologna
- Academy of Sciences in Bologna
- inner root sheath;
The fine structure of hairs in the most ancient extant mammals, the monotremes, is not known. The present study analyzes the ultrastructure and immunocytochemistry for keratins, trichohyalin, and transglutaminase in monotreme hairs and compares their distribution with that present in hairs of the other mammals. The overall ultrastructure of the hair and the distribution of keratins is similar to that of marsupial and placental hairs. Acidic and basic keratins mostly localize in the outer root sheath. The inner root sheath (IRS) comprises 4–8 cell layers in most hairs and forms a tile-like sheath around the hair shaft. No cytological distinction between the Henle and Huxley layers is seen as cells become cornified about at the same time. Externally to the last cornified IRS cells (homologous to the Henle layer), the companion layer contains numerous bundles of keratin. Occasionally, some granules in the companion layer show immunoreactivity for the trichohyalin antibody. This further suggests that the IRS in monotremes is ill-defined, as the companion layer of placental hairs studied so far does not express trichohyalin. A cross-reactivity with an antibody against sheep trichohyalin is present in the IRS of monotremes, suggesting conserved epitopes across mammalian trichohyalin. Trichohyalin granules in the IRS consist of a framework of immunolabeled coarse filaments of 10–12 nm. The latter assume a parallel orientation and lose the immunoreactivity in fully cornified cells. Transglutaminase immunolabeling is diffuse among trichohyalin granules and among the parallel 10–12 nm filaments of maturing inner root cells. Transglutaminase is present where its substrate, trichohyalin, is modified as matrix protein. Cornification of IRS is different from that of hair fiber cuticle and from that of the cornified layer of the epidermis above the follicle. The different consistency among cuticle, IRS, and corneous layer of the epidermis determines separation between hair fiber, IRS, and epidermis. This allows the hair to exit on the epidermal surface after shedding from the IRS and epidermis. Based on comparative studies of reptilian and mammalian skin, a speculative hypothesis on the evolution of the IRS and hairs from the skin of synapsid reptiles is presented. J. Morphol. 261:345–363, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.