March 10, 2011

Think of the first time you kissed your partner…I’m sure it led to piloerection. Nerds, stop the giggling…I’m talking about goosebumps! The stunning image above is from a paper describing the relationship between hair follicles and the muscles that cause goosebumps.

We have epidermal stem cells in our hair follicles in a region called the bulge. The cells in the bulge are closely associated with the arrector pili muscle (APM), which is the muscle responsible for causing goosebumps. A recent study describes how bulge cells deposit a protein called nephronectin into the underlying basement membrane, and this provides a niche for APM differentiation during hair follicle development. Image above shows hair follicles (blue) and smooth muscle proteins found in the APM (red, green). The white brackets show groups of hair follicles that share APMs.

ResearchBlogging.orgFujiwara, H., Ferreira, M., Donati, G., Marciano, D., Linton, J., Sato, Y., Hartner, A., Sekiguchi, K., Reichardt, L., & Watt, F. (2011). The Basement Membrane of Hair Follicle Stem Cells Is a Muscle Cell Niche Cell, 144 (4), 577-589 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.01.014
Copyright ©2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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