Haslam, Iain S. (2016) Oxidative damage control in a human (mini-) organ: Nrf2 activation protects against oxidative stress-induced hair growth inhibition. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. ISSN 0022-202X

The in situ control of redox insult in human organs is of major clinical relevance, yet remains incompletely understood. Activation of Nrf2, the “master regulator” of genes controlling cellular redox homeostasis, is advocated as a therapeutic strategy for diseases with severely impaired redox balance. It remains to be shown whether this strategy is effective in human organs, rather than isolated human cell types. We have therefore explored the role of Nrf2 in a uniquely accessible human (mini-) organ, human scalp hair follicles (HFs). Microarray and qPCR analysis of human HFs following Nrf2 activation using sulforaphane identified the modulation of phase II metabolism, ROS clearance, the pentose phosphate pathway and glutathione homeostasis. Nrf2 knockdown (siRNA) in cultured human HFs confirmed the regulation of key Nrf2 target genes (i.e. HO-1, NQO1, GSR, GCLC, ABCC1, PRDX1). Importantly, Nrf2 activation significantly reduced ROS levels and associated lipid peroxidation. Nrf2 pre-activation reduced oxidative stress-stimulated (H2O2 or menadione) premature
catagen and hair growth inhibition, significantly ameliorated the H2O2-dependent increase in matrix keratinocyte apoptosis and reversed the ROS-induced reduction in proliferation. This study thus provides direct evidence for the crucial role of Nrf2 in protecting human organ function (i.e. scalp HFs) against redox insult.

1-s2.0-S0022202X16324666-main.pdf - Accepted Version
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