International Journal of Trichology International Journal of Trichology
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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 25-29

Presence of mast cells and mast cell degranulation in scalp biopsies of telogen effluvium

1 Department of Dermatology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA
2 Center for Health Outcomes Research, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA

Correspondence Address:
Claudia I Vidal
1755 S Grand Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63104
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijt.ijt_43_16

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Background: Telogen effluvium (TE) is a type of acquired, diffuse alopecia that occurs due to an abnormal shift of scalp hair follicles from anagen to telogen, leading to premature shedding of hair. Previous studies have suggested the existence of a neuroimmunologic “brain-hair follicle” axis, in which mast cells have been implicated as an important link between the nervous system and immunologic system. Objective: The current study sought to investigate the role of mast cell presence and mast cell degranulation in the pathogenesis of TE. Materials and Methods: Mast cells were counted using Giemsa and tryptase immunohistochemical stains in scalp biopsy specimens with the pathologic diagnosis of TE (TE, n = 10), alopecia areata (AA, n = 7), and androgenic alopecia (ANDRO, n = 9). Results: We found significant (P < 0.001) group-level differences between the mean mast cell counts per high-power fields for each type of alopecia studied. Tukey post hoc analysis showed the mean mast cell count for TE to be significantly larger than AA for both Giemsa (P = 0.002) and tryptase (P = 0.006); significantly larger than ANDRO for both Giemsa (P < 0.001) and tryptase (P < 0.001); and significantly larger when compared to normal scalp skin for both Giemsa (P < 0.001) and tryptase (P < 0.001). No significant difference of mean mast cell counts was observed for AA compared to ANDRO for Giemsa (P = 0.373) or tryptase (P = 0.598) stains. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that mast cells could play a role in mediating stress-induced hair loss seen in TE.

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