It has been reported that collagenases (matrix metalloproteinase 2 [MMP-2] and matrix metalloproteinase 9 [MMP-9]) are associated with hair cycle, whereas the mechanism of the association is largely unknown.
The mice were randomly allocated into four groups: saline, and 5, 10, and 15 nM SB-3CT. Immunohistochemical analysis was employed to examine MMP-2 and MMP-9 protein. Real-time polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay were performed to determine mRNA and protein levels of VEGF, IGF-1, TGF-β, and GAPDH. Growing hair follicles from anagen phase III–IV were scored based on hematoxylin and eosin staining. Hair regrowth was also evaluated.
Results showed that mRNA expressions of enzymes changed with a peak at late anagen and a trough at telogen after depilation. Immunostaining showed that the highest expression of MMP-2 was more than that of MMP-9, and the highest expression of enzymes changed during anagen. The localizations of MMP-2 changed from dermal papilla, keratinocyte strand, out of root sheath, and basal plate at early anagen, to hair bulb, inner root sheath, and outer root sheath at late anagen. The localization of MMP-9 changed from partial keratinocyte to dermal papilla at early anagen and to outer root sheath at late anagen. VEGF, IGF-1, and TGF-β have been shown to regulate hair growth. We found mRNA and protein expressions of VEGF and IGF-1 fluctuated with a peak at anagen and a decrease at catagen to telogen. In contrast, mRNA and protein expressions of TGF-β changed with highest and lowest levels at anagen and telogen, respectively. With selective inhibitor of collagenase IV, SB-3CT, mice showed significant suppressed hair growth and decreased expression of VEGF, IGF-1, and TGF-β. The MMPs agonist also significantly increased expression of VEGF, IGF-1, and TGF-β. Meanwhile, SB-3CT treatment significantly suppressed hair growth.