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Mind the (gender) gap: does prolactin exert gender and/or site-specific effects on the human hair follicle?

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  • Biology
  • Medicine


Mind the (Gender) Gap: Does Prolactin Exert Gender and/or Site-Specific Effects on the Human Hair Follicle? Mind the (Gender) Gap: Does Prolactin Exert Gender and/or Site-Specific Effects on the Human Hair Follicle? Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2010) 130, 886–891; doi:10.1038/jid.2009.340; published online 5 November 2009 TO THE EDITOR The pleiotropic, cytokine-like polypep- tide neurohormone prolactin (PRL), primarily produced by the pituitary gland, is most widely appreciated for its central role in the regulation of lactation and reproduction. How- ever, PRL is important in a bewildering array of biological processes spanning growth and development, immunore- gulation, osmoregulation, metabolism, and the stress response (Ben-Jonathan et al., 1996, 2008; Bole-Feysot et al., 1998; Freeman et al., 2000; Grattan and Kokay, 2008). The importance of PRL in cutaneous biology and patho- logy was first postulated almost two decades ago (Paus, 1991), and interest in its role in skin biology has recently been revived (Foitzik et al., 2009). Prolactin has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory dermatoses, including psoriasis (Gia- suddin et al., 1998) and acne vulgaris (Davidovici et al., 2008), and systemic diseases with cutaneous manifestations, including rheumatoid arthritis (Velke- niers et al., 1998), systemic lupus erythematosus (De Bellis et al., 2005), systemic sclerosis (Shahin et al., 2002), and Behcet’s disease (Proenc¸a et al., 2007). Moreover, both mouse and human skin have been identified as nonclassical, extrapituitary sites of PRL expression, which also respond to PRL receptor (PRLR)-mediated signaling, for example, with changes in hair growth and hair keratinocyte proliferation in situ (Craven et al., 2001; Foitzik et al., 2003, 2006, 2009). This is not surpris- ing given that the regulatory effects of PRL on hair growth, in several species, have been documented for over 20 years (see Foitzik et al., 2009 for review). However, more d

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