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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume 3, n° 6
pages 623-626 (décembre 1980)
Doi : 10.1016/S0190-9622(80)80078-8
Clinical and laboratory studies

Analysis of hair from alopecia congenita

Howard P. Baden, M.D. , Joseph Kubilus, Ph.D.
 From the Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA 

1Reprint requests to: Dr. H. P. Baden, Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114/617-726-3993.

Two patients with alopecia congenita had short vellus hairs of the scalp but some apparently normal-sized hairs in other areas. Both fibrous and matrix proteins were detected in the scalp hairs by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE), and x-ray diffraction analysis revealed a normal a pattern. Amino acid analysis showed a decreased cystine content suggesting a quantitative or qualitative change in the matrix component. Scanning electron microscopic examination revealed pits and bulges in the cuticle cells which may be related to wearing a wig. The data suggest a defect in the development of the follicle rather than an abnormality in a component of the hair.

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* Supported by Grant No. AM-06838 from the National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases.
** We gratefully acknowledge Eila Kairinen of the Gillette Research Institute, Rockville, MD, for doing the scanning electron microscopy for this paper.

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