Researchers Accidentally Discover Baldness Cause
In two separate studies, one exploring how certain cancer tumors form and the other investigating skin health, researchers ended up learning more about why hair turns grey and hair regrowth.
Researchers found certain cells connected to balding, gray hair
When scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, deleted the SCF gene in the hair progenitor cells in mice, their hair turned white. When the KROX20 producing cells were deleted, no hair grew and the mice became bald. Associate Professor of Dermatology Dr. Lu Le at the Center said, ”With this knowledge, we hope in the future to create a topical compound or to safely deliver the necessary gene to hair follicles to correct these cosmetic problems.” The study was published in May in Genes & Development.
Faulty immune cells role in baldness
It has been thought that stem cells cause hairs to regrow after they fall out, but scientists noticed something unexpected: that only happens if Tregs (pronounced “tee-regs”) are present.
“If you knock out this one immune cell type, hair just doesn’t grow,” noted Professor Michael Rosenbaum, an immunologist and dermatologist at the University of California San Francisco and one of the scientists on the team studying skin health. They found that stem cells and immune cells have to work together to make regeneration possible. The findings were published in May in the journal Cell.
If you’re worried about hair loss, you’re not alone
As many as 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States are affected by hair loss. The most common type of hair loss, male pattern baldness, affects 85 percent of men by the age of 50. Female pattern baldness happens most frequently after menopause and affects an estimated 30 million women in the United States.
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