Indirect evidence suggests that immune mechanisms may be involved in the pathogenesis of some hair disorders, eg, alopecia areata,1 and in the regulation of normal hair growth.2 However, no direct evidence of an immune-response selectively directed to hair follicle (HF) antigens, an essential requirement if these hypotheses are correct, has been reported hitherto. In this study, we report the presence of autoantibodies to HFs in normal individuals.
Serum samples from 22 normal individuals (four autologous and 18 allogeneic) were tested by Western immunoblotting for antibodies to anagen HFs from four normal individuals. Anagen hair follicles were plucked from normal scalp, identified on the basis of their prominent outer root sheath and bulb, and collected. Control tissues included scalp epidermis and dermis obtained by surgical procedure and cultured normal epidermal keratinocytes. Proteins were extracted with 6 mol/L of urea and separated by sodium dodecyl sulfate-8% polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis,