Chemotherapy-induced alopecia and hair loss can be stressful in patients with cancer. The hair grows back, but sometimes the hair tends to stay thin. Therefore, understanding mechanisms regulating hair regeneration may improve the management of che-motherapy-induced alopecia. Previous studies have revealed that chemotherapeutic agents induce a hair follicle vascular injury. As hair growth is associated with micro-vessel regeneration, we postulated that the stimulation of angiogenesis might enhance hair regeneration. In particular, mice treated with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) showed delayed anagen initiation and reduced capillary density when compared with untreated controls, suggesting that the retardation of anagen initiation by 5-FU treatment may be attributed to the loss of perifollicular micro-vessels. We investigated whether the ETS transcription factor ETV2 (aka ER71), criti-cal for vascular development and regeneration, can promote angiogenesis and hair regrowth in a 5-FU-induced alopecia mouse model. Tie2-Cre; Etv2 conditional knockout (CKO) mice, which lack Etv2 in endothelial cells, presented similar hair regrowth rates as the control mice after depilation. Following 5-FU treatment, Tie2-Cre; Etv2 CKO mice revealed a significant reduction in capillary density, anagen induction, and hair restoration when compared with controls. Mice receiving lentiviral Etv2 injection after 5-FU treatment showed significantly improved anagen induction and hair regrowth. Two-photon laser scanning microscopy revealed that enforced Etv2 expression restored normal vessel morphology after 5-FU mediated vessel injury. Our data suggest that vessel regeneration strategies may improve hair regrowth after chemotherapeutic treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-550
Number of pages6
JournalBiomolecules and Therapeutics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • 5-FU
  • Angiogenesis
  • Chemotherapy-induced alopecia
  • ETS transcription factor
  • ETV2/ER71
  • Hair regeneration


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