New study may lead to treatments of hair loss
A new study that was funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health found a protecin that is the major cause of male pattern baldness.According to the researchers, inhibiting this protein may make the hair follicles that are dormant to grow again.
This pattern baldness leads to shrinkage of the hair follicles making it to generate microscopic hairs. These hairs grow within a short period as compared to normal hairs. Based on a recent study carried out by researchers in the journal Science Translational Medicine, a protein that might be linked to pattern baldness in males was discovered. According to these researchers, inhibiting this protein may make the hair follicles that are dormant to grow again.
In a study that was funded using grants donated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the National Institutes of Health among other medical groups, the researchers compared all genes in scalp samples obtained from five men. The scalps were gotten from both the haired parts as well as the bald parts. Upon comparing the samples, the researchers found out that there was a higher expression of a gene that produces prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) within the bald samples than in haired samples. With this in mind, they proceeded and tested for PGD2 in seventeen men who had hair loss. They discovered that PGD2 in those men was three times more within the bald spots than within the spots with hair.
The scientists went ahead to prove that prostaglandin D2 actually decreased the follicles using mice. Earlier studies indicate that stem cells that form hair are in their normal condition in men suffering from pattern baldness. The follicles are also available but tend to be smaller and make shorter, thinner hair. With time, this hair becomes so short such that it cannot grow beyond the skin surface. The discovery of PGD2, which causes pattern baldness in men, has raised the expectations for an effective cure for this condition.
According to this research, if the protein prostaglandin D2 is the one responsible for causing hair loss, then blocking the receptor for the protein could make all or some of the hair to grow back. There are drugs that are currently being tested for conditions like facial flushing and allergies that hinder PGD2.
Merck who is based at the Whitehouse Station in New Jersey is currently testing laropiprant to establish its effectiveness as a flushing inhibitor. Laropiprant is to be administered along with niacin. According to Merck's spokesman, Ian McConnell, Merck is not testing the anti-flushing drug for hair loss. This is mainly because there were no signs in the patient trials conducted that the treatment could reduce baldness. Elsewhere, Actelion is testing setipiprant for its effectiveness in curing allergic inflammation in nasal pathways and not for curing baldness.
Prostaglandins might have a role to play in hair growth as suggested by Allergan Inc. an artificial form of prostaglandin F2-alpha known as latisse could solve this condition. The therapy was originally produces to cure glaucoma. Later on, doctors discovered that it caused the eyelashes to grow.
All these research could lead to a possible cure for hair loss and prevent pattern baldness in men.
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