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Direct effects of minoxidil on epidermal cells in culture.

Minoxidil, a potent antihypertensive agent, induces generalized hypertrichosis when administered systemically, or localized hair regrowth when applied topically to sites of severe alopecia areata. The pharmacologic mechanisms by which minoxidil stimulates hair growth are unknown. This study was designed to examine whether minoxidil has direct effects on neonatal murine epidermal cells in culture. In the presence of minoxidil, cultures showed a marked dose-dependent second peak of DNA synthesis 8-10 days after culture initiation. In addition, two morphologically distinct cell types appeared. Indirect immunofluorescence staining with keratin-specific antibody revealed cytoplasmic keratin fibers, suggesting the epidermal origin of these cells. Our experiments demonstrate that minoxidil can affect epidermal cells in culture by altering their growth pattern and phenotypic appearance.[1]


  1. Direct effects of minoxidil on epidermal cells in culture. Cohen, R.L., Alves, M.E., Weiss, V.C., West, D.P., Chambers, D.A. J. Invest. Dermatol. (1984) [Pubmed]
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