Effects of Seasonality and Pregnancy on Hair Loss and Regrowth in Rhesus Macaques

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Allison Heagerty, Rebecca A. Wales, Kristine Coleman
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Several studies have examined the etiology of alopecia, or hair loss, in rhesus macaques. While outcomes differ across studies, some commonalities have emerged. Females, particularly pregnant females, show more alopecia than males, and alopecia follows a seasonal pattern. Much research has explored causes of hair loss; however, alopecia can result from lack of hair growth in addition to hair loss. To better understand how sex, reproductive state, and season affect alopecia, we followed 241 rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) in outdoor breeding groups over one year, recording both alopecia severity and presence of hair regrowth. We found that both alopecia and hair regrowth followed a seasonal pattern; alopecia was highest in spring and lowest in late summer, while regrowth started in spring and peaked in late summer. Reproductive state also correlated with both alopecia and hair growth. Females in their third trimester had the highest average level of alopecia and the lowest amount of hair regrowth. Regrowth resumed postpartum, regardless of whether females were rearing an infant. Results indicate that the seasonal pattern of alopecia is due in part to the seasonal limitations on hair regrowth, and that breeding, which also occurs seasonally in rhesus macaques, may further suppress hair regrowth.


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