Current opinion views androgens as the pathogenic driver in the miniaturization of hair follicles of androgenetic alopecia by interfering with the dermal papilla. This cannot be the sole cause and therefore it is important for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes to identify additional pathways. Comparative full transcriptome profile analysis of the hair bulb region of normal and miniaturized hair follicles from vertex and occipital region in males with and without androgenetic alopecia revealed that next to the androgen receptor as well the retinoid receptor and particularly the PPAR pathway is involved in progressive hair miniaturization. We demonstrate the concurrent up-regulation of PPARGC1a in the epithelial compartment and androgen receptor in the dermal papilla of miniaturized hair. Dynamic Ppargc1a expression in the mouse hair cycle suggests a possible role in regulating hair growth and differentiation. This is supported by reduced proliferation of human dermal papilla and predominantly epithelial keratinocytes after incubation with AICAR, the agonist for AMPK signaling which activates PPARGC1a and serves as co-activator of PPARγ. In addition, miRNA profiling shows enrichment of miRNA-targeted genes in retinoid receptors and PPARGC1α/PPARγ signaling, and antigen presentation pathways.
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