Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Columbia Researchers Identify Gene For Inherited Baldness

Date:
January 30, 1998
Source:
Columbia University College Of Physicians And Surgeons
Summary:
Researchers at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons have discovered the first human gene associated with hair loss. The new gene, called hairless, is linked to a severe form of inherited baldness and may be the trigger that turns on the entire human hair cycle. The discovery could lead to a better understanding of the hair cycle and, eventually, more effective treatments for various forms of hair loss.

New York, NY Jan. 26, 1998-- Researchers at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons have discovered the first human gene associated with hair loss. The new gene, called hairless, is linked to a severe form of inherited baldness and may be the trigger that turns on the entire human hair cycle. The discovery could lead to a better understanding of the hair cycle and, eventually, more effective treatments for various forms of hair loss.

The research, reported in the Jan. 30 issue of Science, suggests that the gene initiates a cascade of events that stimulate hair growth. Each step along this pathway may provide new clues for male pattern baldness and other forms of hair loss, or alopecia.

"The discovery of this new gene gives us endless possibilities that may allow us to effectively treat hair loss and possibly baldness within the next five years," says principal investigator Angela M. Christiano, Ph.D., Herbert Irving Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Columbia-Presbyterian. "It is now within our reach to design ways to grow hair, remove hair, even dye hair genetically and -- best yet -- this can all be accomplished topically, reducing possible side effects."

Dr. Christiano's team noticed striking similarities between hairless mice that have been used in dermatology research for nearly 50 years and a rare genetic form of balding called alopecia universalis that involves hair loss over the entire body. The researchers relied on genetic information from families affected by the disorder in a village in Pakistan. By comparing the known mouse gene with human chromosomes, the team identified the first healthy trigger gene for hair growth and the mutation that causes this type of alopecia.

The several forms of alopecia represent a disruption in the cycle of human hair growth. The most common type of hair loss, known as androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, is believed to affect some 80 percent of the population. Other forms, such as alopecia areata, a common disease affecting 2.5 million people in the United States, are thought to be related to autoimmune disfunction or stress. The molecular basis of these forms of alopecia remains a mystery.

"With the hairless gene, the real basis of hair loss can begin to be understood," says Christiano. "We can now look at the cause -- the genes themselves -- with the understanding that hormones are important but not primary."

Current treatments for hair loss focus on the regulation of the hormones involved in hair loss. Treatment for male pattern baldness traditionally has focused on hormonal regulation of the hair follicle for regrowth of hair, yet none of these approaches have provided any relief without significant side effects. But, says Christiano, "Hair follicles, like all cells, have cycles. This finding is the first indication that we may be able to regulate that cycle, triggering the growth of new hair. It may be possible, for instance, to treat hair loss through gene therapy administered topically via the hair follicles."

The market potential for products to treat alopecia is one of the largest worldwide, encompassing pharmacological agents, over-the-counter medications, personal care products, surgical procedures, hair replacement, and wigs. Collectively, consumers spend an estimated $7 billion annually on treatments and procedures to counteract hair loss in the United States alone.

Other investigators are Wasim Ahmad, Muhammad Faiyaz ul Haque, Valeria Brancolini, Hui C. Tsou, Sayed ul Haque, HaMut Lam, Vincent M. Aita, Jason Owen, Michelle deBlaquiere, Jorge Frank, Peter B. Cserhalmi-Friedman, Andrew Leask, John A. McGrath, Monica Peacocke, Mahmud Ahmad, and Jurg Ott.

The study was supported in part by the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University College Of Physicians And Surgeons. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Columbia University College Of Physicians And Surgeons. "Columbia Researchers Identify Gene For Inherited Baldness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/01/980130073111.htm>.
Columbia University College Of Physicians And Surgeons. (1998, January 30). Columbia Researchers Identify Gene For Inherited Baldness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/01/980130073111.htm
Columbia University College Of Physicians And Surgeons. "Columbia Researchers Identify Gene For Inherited Baldness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/01/980130073111.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins