hair pigment patterns
Life and Medical Sciences
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
This study was conducted to assess microenvironmental variability within integumental tissue of genetically identical mice with respect to a specific cellular response: cyclic synthesis of yellow and black pigment by hair bulb melanocytes. Crosses were performed within and between inbred strains of mice that were isogenic with the exception of a single gene substitution at the agouti locus. Agouti locus genes included the Avy, Aw, A, atd, at, ax, am, and a alleles. The pigment patterns of dorsal, flank, and ventral hairs of the first and third hair generations and of hairs growing in special integumentary areas such as the pinna, tail, and hind foot were studied. It was found that the amount of yellow pigment synthesized by hair bulb melanocytes within genetically identical mice is both agedependent and conditioned by the integumentary environment. Furthermore, the special integumentary regions produce hairs with a variety of pigment patterns in which the distribution and relative amounts of black and yellow pigments do not necessarily conform to dominance relationships expected among agouti locus alleles as judged by their effects on the pigmentation of the dorsal pelage. We conclude that within genetically uniform integumental tissues, microenvironmental differences occur and are reflected as alterations in the metabolic pattern of differentiated cells.
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