Through the lens of hair follicle neogenesis, a new focus on mechanisms of skin regeneration after wounding

Eric M. Wier, Luis A. Garza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Wound-induced hair follicle neogenesis (WIHN) is a phenomenon that occurs in adult mammalian skin, where fully functional hair follicles are regenerated in the center of large full-thickness excisional wounds. Although originally discovered over 50 years ago in mice and rabbits, within the last decade it has received renewed interest, as the molecular mechanism has begun to be defined. This de novo regeneration of hair follicles largely recapitulates embryonic hair development, requiring canonical Wnt signaling in the epidermis, however, important differences between the two are beginning to come to light. TLR3 mediated double stranded RNA sensing is critical for the regeneration, activating retinoic acid signaling following wounding. Inflammatory cells, including Fgf9-producing γ-δ T cells and macrophages, are also emerging as important mediators of WIHN. Additionally, while dispensable in embryonic hair follicle development, Shh signaling plays a major role in WIHN and may be able to redirect cells fated to scarring wounds into a regenerative phenotype. The cellular basis of WIHN is also becoming clearer, with increasing evidence suggesting an incredible level of cellular plasticity. Multiple stem cell populations, along with lineage switching of differentiated cells all contribute towards the regeneration present in WIHN. Further study of WIHN will uncover key steps in mammalian development and regeneration, potentially leading to new clinical treatments for hair-related disorders or fibrotic scarring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-129
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Apr 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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