Researchers at the University of California have discovered one molecule that is believed to be key to controlling when hair follicle cells divide and when they die.
This discovery, recently published in the journal Cell developmentcan treat baldness and potentially speed up wound healing because follicles are the source of stem cells.
What was found: Using mouse models, researchers determined that activation of the SCUBE3 signaling molecule by dermal papilla cells stimulates hair growth in mice as well as transplanted human scalp follicles.
Research conducted by the University of California, Irvine may offer a therapeutic treatment for androgenic alopecia, a common form of hair loss in both women and men.
“At different times during the life cycle of a hair follicle, the same dermal papilla cells can send signals that either keep the follicle quiescent or trigger new hair growth,” Maxim Plikus, professor of developmental and cell biology at UC Irvine and one of the authors of the study. , said in a university press release.
“We found that the SCUBE3 signaling molecule, which is naturally produced by dermal papilla cells, is a messenger used to ‘tell’ neighboring hair stem cells to start dividing, which heralds the start of new hair growth.”
The big picture: In accordance with Cleveland ClinicAndrogenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, is the most common type of progressive hair loss in men.
Half of men in the world experience hair loss before the age of 50. About 70% of men will lose hair as they age, and 25% of balding men see the first signs of hair loss by age 21, according to the clinic’s website.
Currently, there are only two drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration treatment of androgenetic alopecia — finasteride and minoxidil. Finasteride is only approved for use in men, and both drugs have had conflicting results. Patients also need to take these drugs daily to see results.
“There is an urgent need for new, effective treatments for hair loss, and natural compounds commonly used by dermal papilla cells are ideal next-generation treatment candidates,” Plikus said in a statement, adding, “Our test in a human transplant model of hair confirms SCUBE3’s preclinical potential.”
The university has filed a preliminary patent application for the use of SCUBE3 and related molecular compounds to stimulate hair growth.