TIMP (tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase) is a glycoprotein inhibitor of metalloproteinases that we hypothesize to be involved in the tissue remodeling that occurs during each hair growth cycle. We examined this hypothesis by studying the expression of TIMP at selected times during a single hair cycle using TIMP-lacZ transgenic mice to localize TIMP gene activity in the hair follicle. TIMP gene induction was visualized by staining mouse back skin for beta-galactosidase (beta-gal) activity. Paraffin sections were analyzed for the localization of TIMP expression. TIMP gene activation appears in hair follicles only during the mid-anagen (the growing stage of the hair cycle) primarily in Henle's layer of the inner root sheath. Some expression of TIMP is also seen in a few connective tissue cells, in the sebaceous gland and in cells at the proximity of the dermal papilla cells in catagen (regressing) and telogen (resting) follicles. These results are consistent with a role for TIMP in cyclic remodeling of connective tissue in hair follicles.

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