Background For several decades, androgens have dominated endocrine research in the domain of hair growth control. However, it has long been known that oestrogens also tend to alter hair follicle (HF) growth and cycling significantly by binding to locally expressed high-affinity oestrogen receptors (ORs). Tamoxifen (TAM) is a selective OR modulator.
Objectives The current work aims to investigate the effect of topically applied TAM on the hair growth of mice.
Methods Test formulations were applied once daily on the shaved back area of the mice for a period of 5 weeks. The effect of these formulations was studied by visual and histological examinations.
Results Animals treated with saline and placebo gel formulation showed significant hair growth on the 20th day. The number and length of follicles were also found to be normal. In contrast, no hair growth was observed in the animals treated with TAM gel, even after the termination of treatment. The HFs were found to be arrested in telogen phase with clear signs of follicle dystrophy.
Conclusions The hair growth-retarding effect of TAM observed in the current study clearly demonstrates its OR agonistic effect on hair growth. This work also provides a distinct lead towards the possible potential of TAM liposomal gel in the treatment of hirsutism.