A type of stem cell can control hair growth
Researchers at Yale university have identified a type of stem cell that helps hair growth and has been shown to work in mice. With further research, it is expected to develop new treatments for hair loss and baldness. The study is published today in the journal cell.
In experiments of mice, the researchers found a type of stem cell in the fatty layer of the skin that sends out a molecular signal to stimulate hair regeneration. The researchers said the stem cells were present even in the root of the bald man's hair follicle, but they had lost their ability to initiate hair regeneration. Scientists have known that hair follicle stem cells need signals from the skin to grow hair, but the source of those signals has never been clear.
When hair stops growing, the fat layer in the scalp shrinks. When a long process takes place in the head, the fat layer grows again, a process known as adipocyte differentiation. Lead author Valerie Horsley, assistant professor of cell and developmental biology at Yale university, said: 'if we could take these fat cells and' communicate 'with the dormant stem cells at the base of the hair follicle, we might be able to get the hair to grow back.
The researchers found that a type of stem cell that produces fat precursors plays an important role in the regrowth of fat layers and hair regeneration. The cells produced a molecule called PDGF (platelet-derived growth factor), which restored the ability of hair growth in mice.
Horsley's team is trying to refine this conclusion by identifying other molecular signals produced by fat precursor stem cells that may play a role in hair growth. They will also conduct further experiments to see if the same mechanism exists and works in humans.
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