The Role of Hair Follicles and Edar Signalling in Cutaneous Wound Healing

  • Clare Garcin

    Student thesis: Unknown


    The Ectodysplasin/Ectodysplasin receptor (Eda/Edar) signalling pathway is critical during development for the formation of skin appendages. However, its roles during adulthood are only recently being elucidated. Adult appendages, such as hair follicles (HFs), are known to become activated to respond to cutaneous injury. However, the HF houses distinct cell populations that display differing capacities to participate and persist in re-epithelialisation. We show, contrary to previous findings, that the best-characterised stem cell (SC) niche within the HF (the bulge) does not respond to injury during the earliest stages of wound healing. We propose that bulge SCs are prevented from participating in early repair as a protection mechanism against tumourigenesis. Despite the bulge niche not participating in early repair, we found the upper HF outer root sheath (ORS) to respond rapidly to injury. Our investigation into the role of Eda/Edar signalling during wound healing revealed that activation of the pathway was able to specifically induce proliferation within this portion of the HF. We further demonstrate a number of roles for the Eda/Edar pathway during adult wound healing, including, surprisingly, influencing several wound responses within the dermis. Specifically, an absence of Eda/Edar signalling in Tabby mice results in delayed wound healing, whereas acute activation of the pathway in wild-type (WT) mice can stimulate re-epithelialisation and enhance wound repair. These effects also translate to a model of human wound healing, where activation of Eda/Edar signalling accelerates re-epithelialisation and increases peri-wound proliferation. RNA-seq analysis reveals diverse gene regulation in the presence/absence of Eda/Edar signalling. Overall, these findings suggest that manipulation of the Eda/Edar pathway may represent an attractive potential therapeutic for enhancement of wound repair, potentially through maximising the natural growth capacity of peri-wound HFs.
    Date of Award1 Aug 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Manchester
    SupervisorMatthew Hardman (Supervisor) & Kimberly Mace (Supervisor)


    • Skin
    • Hair follicle
    • Wound healing
    • Edar

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