Culture of Dermal Papilla Cells from Ovine Wool Follicles: An In Vitro Model for Papilla Size Determination

  • Nicholas W. Rufaut
  • Allan J. Nixon
  • Rodney D. SinclairEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1453)


Common human balding or hair loss is driven by follicle miniaturization. Miniaturization is thought to be caused by a reduction in dermal papilla size. The molecular mechanisms that regulate papilla size are poorly understood, and their elucidation would benefit from a tractable experimental model. We have found that dermal papilla cells from sheep spontaneously aggregate in culture to form papilla-like structures. Here, we describe methods for microdissecting dermal papillae from wool follicles, for initiating and maintaining cultures of ovine papilla cells, and for using these cells in an in vitro assay to measure the effect of bioactive molecules on aggregate size.

Key words

Hair follicle Dermal papilla Morphogenesis Aggregation In vitro Sheep Ovine Wool Hair loss 



The development of these culture methods was supported by the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (C10X0403), the Australian Wool Innovation Ltd. Sheep GENOMICS program (SG318), and the AgResearch Research and Capability Fund (A12258 and A13595).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas W. Rufaut
    • 2
  • Allan J. Nixon
    • 2
    • 3
  • Rodney D. Sinclair
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Epworth Research InstituteEpworth HospitalMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Histopathology DepartmentWaikato District Health BoardHamiltonNew Zealand

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