The sequence of events leading to the reconstruction of a fibre-producing hair follicle, after microsurgical amputation of the lower follicle bulb, has been detailed by immunohistology and electron microscopy. The initial response was essentially found to be a wound reaction, in that hyperproliferative follicle epidermis quickly spread to below the level of amputation—associated with downward movement of mesenchymal (or dermal) sheath cells. Fibronectin was prominent in both dermis and epidermis at this stage and, as in wound repair, preceded laminin and type IV collagen in covering the lower dermal-epidermal junction. Once a new basal line of epidermis and a complete basement membrane were established, laminin and type IV collagen were detected below this junction and within the prospective papilla-forming mesenchyme. This coincided with ultrastructural observations of profuse sub-basement membrane extracellular material in the region of new papilla formation. The glassy membrane displayed extensive ultrastructural modifications at its lower level, and these corresponded with localized variations in staining intensities for all three antibodies over time. The membrane hung below the level of the epidermis, and was crossed by migrating cells from the mesenchymal dermal sheath of the follicle - it acted to segregate the inner group of follicular dermal cells from wound fibroblasts. Extracellular matrix may be a mediator of the dermal-epidermal interactions associated with this hair follicle regeneration phenomenon.

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