New Hair Growth Discovery Made
UC San Franscisco researchers have made further progress in understanding the cause of alopecia and other forms of baldness, including male-pattern balding, IFLScience.com reports. They’re discovery? A link between many forms of baldness and T cells – aka Tregs. While these cells are typically associated with controlling inflammation, “but this research shows that they also directly trigger stem cells in the skin to promote healthy hair growth. This means that if the T cells are faulty, it disrupts the ability of the stem cells to regenerate hair follicles and therefore leads to balding.”
The study was conducted by temporarily removing Tregs from the skin of mice. When the researchers shaved these mice, they realized the shaved patches of hair never grew back. “We realized we had to delve into this further,” Michael Rosenblum, assistant professor of dermatology at UCSF and senior author of the paper said.
This delving involved using imaging techniques which showed that the Tregs were closely tied to the stem cells in the hair follicles that help regenerate hair. “When the follicles enter their usual cycle of regeneration, the number of Tregs around it triples.”
“It’s as if the skin stem cells and the Tregs have co-evolved, so that the Tregs not only guard the stem cells against inflammation but also take part in their regenerative work,” Rosenblum said. “Now the stem cells rely on the Tregs completely to know when it’s time to start regenerating.”