The Transient Role for Calcium and Vitamin D during the Developmental Hair Follicle Cycle

Leila J. Mady, Dare V. Ajibade, Connie Hsaio, Arnaud Teichert, Chak Fong, Yongmei Wang, Sylvia Christakos, Daniel D. Bikle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The role for 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and/or calcium in hair follicle cycling is not clear despite their impact on keratinocyte differentiation. We found that calbindin-D9k null (knockout) pups generated from calbindin-D9k knockout females fed a vitamin D-deficient, low-calcium (0.47%) diet develop transient alopecia. The pups appear phenotypically normal until 13 days of age, after which the hair progressively sheds in a caudocephalic direction, resulting in truncal alopecia totalis by 20–23 days, with spontaneous recovery by 28 days. Histological studies showed markedly dystrophic hair follicles, loss of hair shafts with increased apoptosis, and hyperplastic epidermis during this time. Ha1 expression is lost during catagen in all mice but recovers more slowly in the knockout pups on the vitamin D-deficient, low-calcium diet. Keratin 1 expression is reduced throughout days 19–28. The expressions of involucrin, loricrin, and cathepsin L is initially increased by day 19 but subsequently falls below those of controls by day 23, as does that of desmoglein 3. Feeding the mothers a high-vitamin D/high-calcium (2%)/lactose (20%) diet lessens the phenotype, and knockout pups fostered to mothers fed a normal diet do not develop alopecia. Our results show that in calbindin-D9k knockout pups, a maternal vitamin D-deficient/low-calcium diet leads to transient noncicatricial alopecia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1337-1345
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology

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