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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 856978, 6 pages
Research Article

Early Stages of we/we wal/wal Mouse Hair Morphogenesis: Light and Fluorescent Microscopy of the Whole-Mount Epidermis

1Department of Biomedical Technologies, Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, 1 Ostrovityanova, Moscow 117997, Russia
2Laboratory of Cell Basics for Cancer Research, Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, 32 Vavilov Street, Moscow 119991, Russia
3Laboratory of Cell Proliferation, N.K. Koltsov Institute of Developmental Biology, 26 Vavilov Street, Moscow 119334, Russia
4Department of Cell Biology and Histology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1 Leninskiye Gory, Moscow 119234, Russia

Received 7 February 2014; Revised 16 May 2014; Accepted 21 May 2014; Published 3 June 2014

Academic Editor: Zuzana Plzáková

Copyright © 2014 Alexandra Rippa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In adult skin, hair follicles cyclically self-renew in a manner that recapitulates embryonic hair follicle morphogenesis. The most common pathology of hair in adults is alopecia, which is hair loss to different extent. There are a number of murine models of alopecia including spontaneous mutations. In the present study, we worked with double homozygous we/we wal/wal mice which demonstrate symptoms closely resembling human alopecia. Using whole-mount preparations of epidermis of E18.5 embryos we show that hair follicle defects can be revealed as early as during embryonic morphogenesis in these mutants. The number of hair follicles was reduced almost 1.5-fold in mutant skin. The shape of the early stage small follicles was altered in mutant animals as compared to control ones. Additionally, follicles of mutant embryos were wider at the point of conjunction with interfollicular epidermis. We believe that the mutant mice studied represent a fascinating model to address the problem of hair loss. We demonstrated alterations in the morphogenesis of embryonic hair follicle in we/we wal/wal double homozygous mice developing alopecia postnatally. We suppose that incorrect morphogenesis of hair follicles during embryogenesis is closely related to alopecia in the adult life. Unveiling the mechanisms involved in altered embryogenesis may elucidate the pathogenesis of alopecia.