Mathematical model for alopecia areata

Atanaska Dobreva, Ralf Paus, N G Cogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune disease, and its clinical phenotype is characterized by the formation of distinct hairless patterns on the scalp or other parts of the body. In most cases hair falls out in round patches. A well-established hypothesis for the pathogenesis of AA states that collapse of hair follicle immune privilege is one of the essential elements in disease development. To investigate the dynamics of alopecia areata, we develop a mathematical model that incorporates immune system components and hair follicle immune privilege agents whose involvement in AA has been confirmed in clinical studies and experimentally. We perform parameter sensitivity analysis in order to determine which inputs have the greatest effect on outcome variables. Our findings suggest that, among all processes reflected in the model, immune privilege guardians and the pro-inflammatory cytokine interferon-γ govern disease dynamics. These results agree with the immune privilege collapse hypothesis for the development of AA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-345
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Early online date3 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2015


  • Alopecia Areata/immunology
  • Hair Follicle/immunology
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical


Dive into the research topics of 'Mathematical model for alopecia areata'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this