Dynamic ultrastructural changes of the connective tissue sheath of human hair follicles during hair cycle


Ultrastructural changes of the connective tissue sheath (CTS), including the hyaline membrane, of human hair follicles during the hair cycle, were studied in normal scalp skin specimens. In early anagen, the CTS was composed of a thin basal lamina and surrounding collagen tissue. The collagen tissue gradually thickened during the development of the hair and hair follicle. In mature anagen hair follicles, the collagen tissue was separated into three layers. The inner collagen layer, just outside the basal lamina, was thin and composed of collagen fibres running longitudinally parallel to the hair axis. The middle collagen layer was very thick with its collagen fibres running transversely against the hair axis and surrounding the inner hair tissue. Many fibroblasts were present among the collagen fibres in the middle layer, whereas the inner layer contained almost none. In the outer collagen layer, collagen fibres ran in various directions parallel to the outer surface of the outer root sheath cells. In late anagen, the basal lamina became very thick. In catagen, the basal lamine and the inner collagen layer became corrugated and showed oedematous change and degeneration. Surrounding fibroblasts showed active production of new collagen fibres, which seemed to fill the spaces left by the retraction of the hair follicle and hyaline membrane. These ultrastructural changes of the CTS show that there may be dynamic metabolic changes of the connective tissue around human hair follicles during the hair cycle.

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Correspondence to M. Ito.

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Ito, M., Sato, Y. Dynamic ultrastructural changes of the connective tissue sheath of human hair follicles during hair cycle. Arch Dermatol Res 282, 434–441 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00402618

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Key words

  • Hair cycle
  • Human hair follicle
  • Connective tissue sheath
  • Hyaline membrane
  • Ultrastructure