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  • 1/8/2011

Baldness linked to stem cell defect


A particular stem cell defect plays an important role in male pattern baldness by changing the way our body produces hair, a new study suggests.

The University of Pennsylvania researchers have found that a cellular malfunction short-circuits the process by which hair follicle stem cells turn into hair-producing progenitor cells.

The defect, rather than any loss of stem cells themselves, sparks the onset of a common type of genetic hair loss that affects both men and women called androgenetic alopecia.

According to the findings published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the hair follicles shrink rather than disappear in male pattern baldness. So hair is available in bald spots of the scalp, but it's microscopic compared to other non-balding parts due to the stem cells' activation problem.

The findings offer "a lot more hope that you could actually get hair to grow in a bald scalp," said study co-author Dr. George Cotsarelis.

"Previously we thought the stem cells were gone, and if that was the case it would be very difficult. But because they are present it should be possible to treat," he added.

There are still just as many stem cells in the bald scalp that can make hair as there are in the normal haired scalp, and that was an important and surprising finding, Cotsarelis underlined.

Researchers hope that their finding might someday lead to new targets for treatment of baldness, which affects millions of people worldwide.

"Now that we have identified the problem we can try to better understand how to get a stem cell to make and activate a progenitor cells. And then we should be able to develop new ways of treating baldness," Cotsarelis noted.

Source: presstv.ir

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