Electrical stimulation to human dermal papilla cells for hair regenerative medicine

Publication Name

Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering


Hair follicle dermal papilla cells (DPCs) are specialized mesenchymal cells that play pivotal roles in hair formation, growth, and cycles, and they are considered as a cell source in hair regenerative medicine. Rodent dermal papilla cells have been shown to induce de novo hair follicle generation in the skin of recipients following transplantation, suggesting that dermal papilla cells can reprogram epidermal microenvironments. However, human DPCs (hDPCs) lose their ability to generate de novo hair follicles under conventional culture methods. We investigated the effects of electrical stimulation (ES) on hDPCs to restore the depressed trichogenic activity. We demonstrated that ES with a polypyrrole (PPy)-modified electrode upregulated trichogenic gene expression in hDPCs in vitro, and the activated cells when transplanted into mice generated double the number of hairs compared to that without the ES. Using specific inhibitors, we revealed that the mechanisms behind the electrical activation are associated with voltage-gated ion channels. Further, ES can be adapted for hDPCs from a patient with androgenic alopecia. Thus, this approach is potentially beneficial in preparing hDPCs for hair regenerative medicine.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science



Link to publisher version (DOI)