- Melatonin, an evolutionarily ancient derivative of serotonin with hormonal properties, is the main neuroendocrine secretory product of the pineal gland. Although melatonin is best known to regulate circadian rhythmicity and lower vertebrate skin pigmentation, the full spectrum of functional activities of this free radical-scavenging molecule, which also induces/promotes complex antioxidative and DNA repair systems, includes immunomodulatory, thermoregulatory, and antitumor properties. Because this plethora of functional melatonin properties still awaits to be fully appreciated by dermatologists, the current review synthesizes the main features that render melatonin a promising candidate for the management of several dermatoses associated with substantial oxidative damage.
- The in situ control of redox insult in human organs is of major clinical relevance, yet remains incompletely understood. Activation of nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (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 only in isolated human cell types. We have therefore explored the role of Nrf2 in a uniquely accessible human (mini-) organ: scalp hair follicles.
- Keloid disease is a recurrent fibroproliferative cutaneous tumor of unknown pathogenesis for which clinical management remains unsatisfactory. To obtain new insights into hitherto underappreciated aspects of keloid pathobiology, we took a laser capture microdissection-based, whole-genome microarray analysis approach to identify distinct keloid disease-associated gene expression patterns within defined keloid regions. Identification of the aldo-keto reductase enzyme AKR1B10 as highly up-regulated in keloid epidermis suggested that an imbalance of retinoic acid metabolism is likely associated with keloid disease.
- Hair follicles (HFs) undergo lifelong cyclical transformations, progressing through stages of rapid growth (anagen), regression (catagen), and relative “quiescence” (telogen). Given that HF cycling abnormalities underlie many human hair growth disorders, the accurate classification of individual cycle stages within skin biopsies is clinically important and essential for hair research. For preclinical human hair research purposes, human scalp skin can be xenografted onto immunocompromised mice to study human HF cycling and manipulate long-lasting anagen in vivo.