Inhibitory effect of tianeptine on catagen induction in alopecia areata-like lesions induced by ultrasonic wave stress in mice


  • Conflict of interest: none declared.

Correspondence: Dr Beom Joon Kim, Department of Dermatology, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, Heuksuk-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, 156-775, Korea




Alopecia areata (AA) is characterized by rapid and complete hair loss in one or multiple areas of the scalp. Stress is an important triggering factor in AA.


To identify the inhibitory effect of tianeptine on catagen induction in C57BL/6 mice with AA-like lesions induced by ultrasonic wave stress (UWS).


The mice were divided into four groups. Group 1 received oral tianeptine before and after UWS; group 2 received oral tianeptine only after UWS; group 3 was given UWS treatment only; and group 4 (negative control group) was not given any treatment. Phototrichigraphy and dermatoscopy were used for assessment. Histological analysis was performed using haematoxylin and eosin, toluidine blue, Masson trichrome and Verhoeff–van Gieson stains. Immunohistochemical analysis was also performed. The level of apoptosis and expression of neuropeptides in the skin were assessed by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labelling and immunofluorescence assays.


Mice in group 1 had an increased rate of hair growth and greater hair-shaft thickness compared with mice in groups 2 and 3. In addition, mice in group 1 had a higher number of anagen hair follicles, increased synthesis of collagen and elastic fibres, decreased mast-cell degranulation, reduction in cell apoptosis in hair follicles, and recovery of vitamin D receptor expression. Expression of neuropeptides (substance P, calcitonin gene-related peptide) was not altered.


Tianeptine might play a role in suppressing catagen induction in a stress-induced AA mouse model.