Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New gene in hair loss identified

Date:
April 14, 2010
Source:
Columbia University Medical Center
Summary:
Scientists have identified a new gene involved in hair growth. This discovery may affect future research and treatments for male pattern baldness and other forms of hair loss.

Developing baldness. Researchers have shown that a mutation known to control hair growth in mice may affect human hair loss as well. Scientists showed the mutation affected the Wnt signaling pathway in the embryos of the African clawed frog, pictured without the mutation (top) and with it (bottom).
Credit: Image courtesy of Rockefeller University

A team of investigators from Columbia, Rockefeller and Stanford Universities has identified a new gene involved in hair growth, as reported in a paper in the April 15 issue of Nature. This discovery may affect future research and treatments for male pattern baldness and other forms of hair loss.

The researchers found that the gene, called APCDD1, which causes a progressive form of hair loss beginning in childhood (known as hereditary hypotrichosis simplex). The disease is caused by a phenomenon called hair follicle miniaturization -- the same key feature of male pattern baldness. When hair follicles go through this miniaturization process, they shrink or narrow, causing the thick hair on the head to be replaced by thin, fine hair, known as "peach fuzz."

"The identification of this gene underlying hereditary hypotrichosis simplex has afforded us an opportunity to gain insight into the process of hair follicle miniaturization, which is most commonly observed in male pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopecia," said Angela M. Christiano, Ph.D., professor of dermatology and genetics & development at Columbia University Medical Center, and lead author of the study. "It is important to note that while these two conditions share the same physiologic process, the gene we discovered for hereditary hypotrichosis does not explain the complex process of male pattern baldness."

The team made their discovery by analyzing genetic data from a few families from Pakistan and Italy with hereditary hypotrichosis simplex. They found a common mutation in the APCDD1 gene, which is located in a specific region on chromosome 18 that has been shown in previous studies to be implicated in other forms of hair loss, including androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata, hinting at a broader role in hair follicle biology.

Importantly, the researchers found that APCDD1 inhibits a signaling pathway that has long been shown to control hair growth in mouse models, but has not been extensively linked to human hair growth. Laboratory researchers have targeted this pathway, known as the Wnt signaling pathway, to turn on or off hair growth in mice, but, until now, the pathway did not appear to be involved in human hair loss. This finding is significant because it provides evidence that hair growth patterns in humans and in mice are more similar than previously believed.

"We have at last made a connection between Wnt signaling and human hair disease that is highly significant," said Dr. Christiano. "We have years of beautiful data in our field about hair growth in mice, but this is the first inroad into showing that the same pathway is critical in human hair growth. This is the first mutation in a Wnt inhibitor that deregulates the pathway in a human hair disease."

"Furthermore, these findings suggest that manipulating the Wnt pathway may have an effect on hair follicle growth -- for the first time, in humans," said Dr. Christiano. "And unlike commonly available treatments for hair loss that involve blocking hormonal pathways, treatments involving the Wnt pathway would be non-hormonal, which may enable many more people suffering from hair loss to receive such therapies."

Dr. Christiano and her team are now working to understand the complex genetic causes of other forms of hair loss including alopecia areata, with the hope of eventually developing new, effective treatments for these conditions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yutaka Shimomura, Dritan Agalliu, Alin Vonica, Victor Luria, Muhammad Wajid, Alessandra Baumer, Serena Belli, Lynn Petukhova, Albert Schinzel, Ali H. Brivanlou, Ben A. Barres & Angela M. Christiano. APCDD1 is a novel Wnt inhibitor mutated in hereditary hypotrichosis simplex. Nature, 2010; 464 (7291): 1043 DOI: 10.1038/nature08875

Cite This Page:

Columbia University Medical Center. "New gene in hair loss identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100414134547.htm>.
Columbia University Medical Center. (2010, April 14). New gene in hair loss identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100414134547.htm
Columbia University Medical Center. "New gene in hair loss identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100414134547.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Doctors once thought artificial sweeteners lacked the health risks of sugar, but a new study says they can impact blood sugar levels the same way. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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