US researchers unravel the cause of hair loss
A special protein plays an essential role in the development of hair loss. US researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have investigated "which genes are switched on when men become bald" and came across the protein "prostaglandin D2 synthase", which causes an inhibition of hair growth in the hair follicles.
"In essence, we have shown that prostaglandin protein is more abundant in men's bald scalps," which inhibits hair growth, reports Prof. George Cotsarelis, from the University Dermatology Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania, in the journal Science Translational Medicine ". According to the dermatologist, this could also be the key to treating hair loss in the future. Several drugs, some of which are currently in clinical trials, are already influencing the signal pathway that has been identified, so that successful treatment of hair loss may be possible in a few years, explained Prof. Cotsarelis.
Prostaglandin D2 synthase responsible for hair loss From previous studies it was already known that testosterone plays an essential role in the development of male hair loss - the so-called "androgenetic alopecia" (AGA). However, the mechanisms for the reduced hair growth in this disease remained unclear, according to the US scientists' justification for the current investigations. In their experiments, the researchers were able to show that the protein "prostaglandin D2 synthase" occurs significantly more in the areas of bald scalp compared to those on hairy scalp. In specially bred mice, the high concentration of the protein even resulted in complete hair loss, write Cotsarelis and colleagues. In volunteer study participants, hair growth stopped abruptly after a hair transplant as soon as "prostaglandin D2 synthase" was artificially added, said Prof. Cotsarelis.
Avoid hair loss by blocking receptors? According to the US researchers, inhibition of hair growth is triggered as soon as the protein docks onto a receptor on the cells of the hair follicle. An effective method to combat hair loss could therefore be to block the receptors. Therefore, further research should now look for active substances "that influence this receptor", whereby it must also be checked whether blocking the receptor can not only prevent baldness, but possibly even reverse it, explained Prof. Cotsarelis. In principle, the development of a cream or ointment is also conceivable, which is applied to the scalp to prevent hair loss or even to let new hair sprout. It will take a while until all open questions are answered, according to the dermatologist from the University of Pennsylvania. (fp)
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