Effect of caffeine and testosterone on the proliferation of human hair follicles in vitro
Article first published online: 3 JAN 2007
International Journal of Dermatology
Volume 46, Issue 1, pages 27–35, January 2007
How to Cite
Fischer, T. W., Hipler, U. C. and Elsner, P. (2007), Effect of caffeine and testosterone on the proliferation of human hair follicles in vitro. International Journal of Dermatology, 46: 27–35. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2007.03119.x
- Issue published online: 3 JAN 2007
- Article first published online: 3 JAN 2007
Background Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is a common problem in men of all ages, affecting approximately 50% at 50 years of age. The underlying cause is an androgen-dependent miniaturization of genetically predetermined hair follicles. Here, the hair organ culture model was used to investigate the effects of testosterone and caffeine; the latter being a promising candidate for hair growth stimulation.
Methods Hair follicles from 14 biopsies, taken from the vertex areas from male AGA patients, were cultivated for 120–192 h in vitro with normal William's E medium (control) or William's E medium containing different concentrations of testosterone and/or caffeine. Hair shaft elongation was measured daily and at the end of cultivation, cryosections of follicles were stained with Ki-67 to evaluate the degree and localization of keratinocyte proliferation.
Results Significant growth suppression was found in hair follicles treated with 5 µg/ml testosterone. This was counteracted by caffeine in concentrations of 0.001% and 0.005%. Moreover, caffeine alone led to a significant stimulation of hair follicle growth. These results were confirmed immunohistochemically by Ki-67 staining.
Conclusions Androgen-dependent growth inhibition of ex vivo hair follicles from patients suffering from AGA was present in the human hair organ culture model, a constellation which may serve for future studies to screen new substances against androgen-dependent hair loss. Caffeine was identified as a stimulator of human hair growth in vitro; a fact which may have important clinical impact in the management of AGA.