Journal of Molecular Histology

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 233–240 | Cite as

Expression of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, stem-cell markers and proliferating cell markers in rat whisker hair follicles

  • Chang-min Lin
  • Yan-ping Yuan
  • Xian-cai Chen
  • Hai-hong Li
  • Bo-zhi Cai
  • Yang Liu
  • Huan Zhang
  • Yu Li
  • Keng Huang
Original Paper


The rat whisker hair follicle (HF) is a model for studying the reconstruction of the HF or dermal papilla (DP), and involves the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, which is a key pathway in HF development and HF cycling after birth. It has been reported that Wnt/catenin signaling plays an indispensable role in human or rat pelages development and postnatal growth. However, the distribution of some Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway factors and their relationship with the epithelial stem cell markers in whisker follicles has not been characterized. In this study, we investigated the immunolocalization of Wnt/catenin signaling pathway members, including Wnt10b, Wnt10a, Wnt5a, β-catenin, and downstream lymphoid enhancer-binding factor 1 (LEF1) and transcription factor 3 (TCF3), as well as, HF stem-cell markers CD34, CK15 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) protein, in rat anagen phase whisker follicles. β-catenin, Wnt5a, Wnt10b, Wnt10a, LEF1, and TCF3 were expressed in the outer root sheath (ORS), inner root sheath, matrix and hair shaft of anagen follicles. β-catenin, Wnt10b, LEF1, and TCF3 were highly expressed and Wnt5a and Wnt10a weakly expressed in DP and dermal sheath (DS) regions. The expression of α-smooth muscle actin was strong in the lower DS and it was also detected in some DP cells. CD34, CK15 and PCNA were all expressed in the ORS; and CD34 and PCNA were also detected in the matrix, however CD34 was extensively expressed in DP and DS regions. Our studies located the position of Wnts, downstream LEF1 and TCF3 and stem cell marker proteins, which provide new information in understanding the role of the Wnt singaling pathway in whisker follicles’ growth.


Wnt/β-catenin signaling Hair follicle Anagen Immunofluorescence staining Stem cells 







Dermal papilla


Dermal sheath


Glassy membrane


Hair follicle


Hair shaft


Inner root sheath




Outer root sheath





This work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation of China (Nos. 81372084, 81171832) and the Guangdong Province Outstanding Young Teacher Training Program (No. Yq2013078).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chang-min Lin
    • 1
  • Yan-ping Yuan
    • 1
  • Xian-cai Chen
    • 1
  • Hai-hong Li
    • 2
  • Bo-zhi Cai
    • 3
  • Yang Liu
    • 1
  • Huan Zhang
    • 1
  • Yu Li
    • 3
  • Keng Huang
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Histology and EmbryologyShantou University Medical CollegeShantouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Emergency Department, The Second Affiliated HospitalShantou University Medical CollegeShantouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Tissue Engineering Laboratory, First Affiliated HospitalShantou University Medical CollegeShantouPeople’s Republic of China

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