29 November 2018
THURSDAY, Nov. 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Have you ever wondered why hair grows on some parts of your body, but not others? New research offers a possible explanation. Scientists found that hairless skin secretes a protein that blocks a signaling pathway (WNT) that controls hair growth. Called Dickkopf 2 (DKK2), the protein is found in specific embryonic and adult tissues and has a variety of functions, the University of Pennsylvania researchers explained. They found that plantar skin from mice — similar to the underside of the human wrist — had high levels of DKK2. When they genetically removed DKK2 from the mice, hair began to grow in this normally hairless skin region. “This is significant because it tells us WNT is still present in hairless regions, it’s just being blocked,” said study co-senior author Sarah Millar, director of the Penn Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-Based Center. “We know that WNT signaling is critical for the development of hair follicles; blocking it causes hairless skin, and switching it on causes formation of more hair,” Millar said in a Penn news release. “In this study, we’ve shown the skin in hairless regions naturally produces an inhibitor that stops WNT from doing its job,” she added. Hair follicles develop before birth. This means that hair follicles don’t regrow after severe burns or deep wounds. The researchers are currently investigating whether secreted WNT inhibitors suppress hair follicle development in such cases. More than 80 million people in the United States have male- or female-pattern baldness, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Previous research suggests that DKK2 may be associated with this condition, meaning it could be a potential target for treatment. “We hope that these lines of investigation will reveal new ways to improve wound healing and hair growth, and we plan to continue to pursue these goals moving forward,” Millar said. The study was published Nov. 28 in the journal Cell Reports. More information The American Academy of Dermatology has more on hair loss.
30 July 2018
MONDAY, July 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) — An experimental drug reversed hair loss, hair whitening and skin inflammation in mice that were first fed a diet high in fat and cholesterol. Previous research has suggested a link between fatty diets and hair/skin issues in people. The researchers emphasized that it’s not known if the drug is safe and that the results in mice do not mean the drug would work in people. However, the findings may point to possible treatments for hair loss/graying and skin wounds in people, the team from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said. “Further research is needed, but our findings show promise for someday using the drug we developed for skin diseases such as psoriasis, and wounds resulting from diabetes or plastic surgery,” said researcher Subroto Chatterjee, a professor of pediatrics and medicine. The experimental drug, called D-PDMP, stops production of fats called glycosphingolipids (GSLs), which are major components of skin and other cell membranes. Previous research has shown that GSLs are common in the cells that comprise the uppermost layer of the skin, and also in cells involved in pigmentation of the eyes, skin and hair. In this study, mice that were fed a diet high in fat and cholesterol developed hair whitening, hair loss and skin lesions. But those problems were reversed when the mice were given the experimental drug. “Our findings show that a Western diet causes hair loss, hair whitening and skin inflammation in mice, and we believe a similar process occurs in men who lose hair and experience hair whitening when they eat a diet high in fat and cholesterol,” Chatterjee said in a Hopkins news release. Further animal research is needed to determine how well and what amount of the drug might promote hair growth and heal wounds, the researchers noted. Their study was published July 30 in the journal Scientific Reports. “Hopefully someday in the future this can mean faster, more effective recovery from baldness, hair whitening in aging populations and wound healing,” Chatterjee said. More information The American Heart Association offers advice on healthy eating.