Neural Crest Stem Cell-specific Deletion of the Pygopus2 Gene Modulates Hair Follicle Development

Alla Narytnyk, Kevin Gillinder, Bernard Verdon, Oliver Clewes, Maya Sieber-Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


We show that neural crest stem cells affect mouse hair follicle development. During embryogenesis hair follicle induction is regulated by complex reciprocal and functionally redundant signals between epidermis and dermis, which remain to be fully understood. Canonical Wnt signalling is a hallmark of neural crest cells and also a prerequisite for hair follicle induction prior to hair placode formation in the epidermis. As neural crest stem cells invade the epidermis during early embryonic development we aimed at determining whether neural crest cells affect hair follicle development. To attenuate, but not silence, canonical Wnt signalling specifically in neural crest cells, we analyzed Wnt1-cre(+/-)::Pygo2(-/-) mice in which the β-catenin co-activator gene, Pygopus 2 (Pygo2), is deleted specifically in neural crest cells. Both, hair density and hair thickness were reduced in mutant mice. Furthermore, hair development was delayed and the relative ratio of hair types was affected. There was a decrease in zig-zag hairs and an increase in awl hairs. Mouse neural crest stem cells expressed ectodysplasin, an essential effector in the formation of zig-zag hair. Taken together, our data support the novel notion that neural crest cells are involved in the earliest stages of hair follicle development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-68
Number of pages9
JournalStem Cell Reviews and Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Awl hair
  • Hair follicle
  • Neural crest
  • Pygopus2
  • Wnt
  • Zig-zag hair

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