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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Vitamin D receptor is essential for normal keratinocyte stem cell function.

The major physiological role of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) is the maintenance of mineral ion homeostasis. Mutation of the VDR, in humans and mice, results in alopecia. Unlike the effects of the VDR on mineral ion homeostasis, the actions of the VDR that prevent alopecia are ligand-independent. Although absence of the VDR does not prevent the development of a keratinocyte stem cell niche in the bulge region of the hair follicle, it results in an inability of these stem cells to regenerate the lower portion of the hair follicle in vivo and impairs keratinocyte stem cell colony formation in vitro. VDR ablation is associated with a gradual decrease in keratinocyte stem cells, accompanied by an increase in sebaceous activity, a phenotype analogous to that seen with impaired canonical Wnt signaling. Transient gene expression assays demonstrate that the cooperative transcriptional effects of beta-catenin and Lef1 are abolished in keratinocytes isolated from VDR-null mice, revealing a role for the unliganded VDR in canonical Wnt signaling. Thus, absence of the VDR impairs canonical Wnt signaling in keratinocytes and leads to the development of alopecia due to a defect in keratinocyte stem cells.[1]


  1. Vitamin D receptor is essential for normal keratinocyte stem cell function. Cianferotti, L., Cox, M., Skorija, K., Demay, M.B. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2007) [Pubmed]
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