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Keywords:

  • anthralin;
  • hair growth;
  • irritation;
  • mouse;
  • protein kinase C;
  • sodium dodecyl sulphate;
  • Western blots.

Induction of hair growth by skin irritants and its relation to skin protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms were evaluated. Dorsal skin of BALB/c mice was shaved and anthralin (0.1% in corn oil) was applied on one side of the shaved backs in 20 mice daily for 5 days. The corresponding opposite side treated with corn oil served as a control. In another 20 mice, sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS, 10% in water) was applied on one side of the shaved backs for 5 days by the same procedure as above and the corresponding opposite side treated with water served as control. Visible acceleration of hair growth on anthralin-treated skin was observed as early as 14 days after the application of anthralin and significant hair growth was observed at about 17–20 days. Enhancement of hair growth on SDS-treated skin was observed at about 3 weeks from the beginning of the treatment. None of the mice showed remarkable hair growth on the control side in either group. Mouse skin PKC isoforms levels detected by Western blot showed a similar pattern in both treatment groups. PKC α was downregulated initially, and was then elevated from 3 days after anthralin treatment and 14 days after SDS application. PKC β was unchanged initially, decreased at 8 and 14 days after anthralin and SDS treatment, respectively, and reverted to the control level at 25 days after anthralin treatment, when it was still lower than the control in SDS-treated skin. PKC δ was also unchanged at first, but was elevated from 3 days after anthralin treatment and 14 days after SDS application. These results suggest that involvement of PKC may be a general phenomenon in irritant-induced hair growth in mice. Considering the stimulatory effect of PKC α and inhibitory effect of PKC δ on cell growth, we postulate that PKC α may be responsible for enhancement of hair growth while PKC δ may inhibit hair growth to keep the hair growth in balance.