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Vol. 211, No. 1, 2005
Issue release date: 2005

What Can We Learn from Animal Models of Alopecia areata?

McElwee K.J. · Yu M. · Park S.-W. · Ross E.K. · Finner A. · Shapiro J.
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Alopecia areata (AA) is a hair loss disease marked by a focal inflammatory infiltrate of dystrophic anagen stage hair follicles by CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes. Although AA is thought to be an autoimmune disorder, definitive proof is lacking. Moreover, characterization of the primary pathogenic mechanisms by which hair loss is induced in AA is limited. In this context, animal models may provide a vital contribution to understanding AA. Recent research using animal models of AA has focused on providing evidence in support of a lymphocyte-mediated pathogenic mechanism consistent with AA as an autoimmune disease. In the future, research with both humans and animal models shall likely concentrate on identifying the primary antigenic epitopes involved in AA and the genetics of AA susceptibility. With a comprehensive understanding of the key elements in AA pathogenesis, new avenues for therapeutic research and intervention will be defined.

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