Summary. Apoptotic cell death is an essential homeostatic mechanism involved in the control of cellular turnover in a variety of adult tissues.
Cytoplasmic and nuclear condensation morphologically define this process whose biochemical hallmark is extensive DNA fragmentation into discrete oligonucleosomic units.
Hair follicle growth and regression has been shown to be correlated with apoptosis in humans, mice, rats and guinea pigs.
The present study was carried out to evaluate its implication in canine hair biology in order to define the spatio-temporal relationship between apoptosis and the hair cycle in dogs.
As assessed by terminal deoxy-nucleotidyl transferase-mediated d-UTP nick-end-labelling (TUNEL) and by basic histological and ultrastructural assays, apoptotic cells appeared both in the growing and in the regressing follicle epithelium showing the well characterized morphological features described in the previous relevant literature.