Hair & hair growth

Published on May 4, 2014   57 min

Other Talks in the Series: Skin Biology

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Hello, I'm Desmond Tobin, Director of the Center for Skin Sciences at the University of Bradford. Over the next hour or so I would like to discuss with you the fundamentals of the hair follicle and how it produces its main secreted product, the hair fiber.
My talk will be structured as follows. I will give a little context on the biological value of hair as the major appendage of the skin. Then I will describe how the hair follicle coordinates several distinct histological cell types, and can be viewed therefore as a mini organ. From there I will briefly discuss the development of the hair follicle, first during embryogenesis. Once developed the hair follicle then enters a lifelong cyclical activity, a feature that makes it unique in the mammalian body. Much of the recent biomedical interest in the hair follicle stems from its significant regenerative capacity. So I will talk briefly about its complement of stem cells. Note the general area of stem cells will be a feature of its own series in the Henry Stewart Talks collection. Another major development in hair follicle science over the last 10 years has been the rather unexpected inclusion of the hair follicle in the nuero-endocrine family of body tissues. This will be covered only briefly here. However, one of the hair follicle traits that is tightly connected to the neuro-endocrine system is its pigmentation system. And this will be covered here. Finally, I will conclude the talk with an overview of a couple of the more common hair growth disorders, alopecia areata and common baldness.
So the next slides show the biological value of hair.
Given the strategic position on the surface of our bodies it can be appreciated that skin provides a biological barrier that needs to protect us from the fluctuating and often noxious external environment. The skin is equipped not only as a physical barrier, but also as a sensing organ that recognizes, discriminates, and integrates signals emanating from both outside and inside our bodies. It does this by harnessing the capabilities of its immune, pigmentary, and neuro-endocrine systems. The skins major appendage, the hair follicle, also contributes significantly to the overall skin function via its protective, sensory, tissue maintenance, and immune associated capabilities.