Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Male pattern balding may be due to stem cell inactivation

Date:
January 6, 2011
Source:
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Summary:
Using cell samples from men undergoing hair transplants, researchers compared follicles from bald scalp and non-bald scalp, and found that bald areas had the same number of stem cells as normal scalp in the same person. However, they did find that another, more mature cell type called a progenitor cell was markedly depleted in the follicles of bald scalp.

Top panels show progenitor cells marked in green (left) and brown (right) in cross section of a hair follicle. Bottom panel shows side view of hair follicle with stem-cell- and progenitor-cell-rich areas.
Credit: George Cotsarelis, MD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Given the amount of angst over male pattern balding, surprisingly little is known about its cause at the cellular level. In a new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, a team led by George Cotsarelis, MD, chair of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has found that stem cells play an unexpected role in explaining what happens in bald scalp.

Using cell samples from men undergoing hair transplants, the team compared follicles from bald scalp and non-bald scalp, and found that bald areas had the same number of stem cells as normal scalp in the same person. However, they did find that another, more mature cell type called a progenitor cell was markedly depleted in the follicles of bald scalp.

The researchers surmised that balding may arise from a problem with stem-cell activation rather than the numbers of stem cells in follicles. In male pattern balding, hair follicles actually shrink; they don't disappear. The hairs are essentially microscopic on the bald part of the scalp compared to other spots.

"We asked: 'Are stem cells depleted in bald scalp?'" says Cotsarelis. "We were surprised to find the number of stem cells was the same in the bald part of the scalp compared with other places, but did find a difference in the abundance of a specific type of cell, thought to be a progenitor cell," he says. "This implies that there is a problem in the activation of stem cells converting to progenitor cells in bald scalp."

At this point, the researchers don't know why there is a breakdown in this conversion. "However, the fact that there are normal numbers of stem cells in bald scalp gives us hope for reactivating those stem cells," notes Cotsarelis.

In 2007, the Cotsarelis lab found that hair follicles in adult mice regenerate by re-awakening genes once active only in developing embryos. The team determined that wound healing in a mouse model created an "embryonic window" of opportunity to manipulate the number of new hair follicles that form. By activating dormant embryonic molecular pathways stem cells were coaxed into forming new hair follicles.

In the JCI study, the group also found a progenitor cell population in mice that is analogous to the human cells; these cells were able to make hair follicles and grow hair when injected into an immunodeficient mice.

The researchers say their next steps will be to study the stem and progenitor populations in other types of hair loss, including female pattern hair loss. The information may assist in developing cell-based treatments for male pattern balding by isolating stem cells and expanding them to add back to the scalp directly. They will also focus on identifying factors that could be used topically to convert stem cells to progenitor cells to generate normal large hairs.

First author Luis Garza, MD, PhD, a dermatologist and former postdoctoral fellow in the Cotsarelis lab, performed much of the work and is now an assistant professor of Dermatology at Johns Hopkins University.

The research was funded in part by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; the Pennsylvania Department of Health; the Fannie Gray Hall Center for Human Appearance; and L'Oreal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Luis A. Garza, Chao-Chun Yang, Tailun Zhao, Hanz B. Blatt, Michelle Lee, Helen He, David C. Stanton, Lee Carrasco, Jeffrey H. Spiegel, John W. Tobias, George Cotsarelis. Bald scalp in men with androgenetic alopecia retains hair follicle stem cells but lacks CD200-rich and CD34-positive hair follicle progenitor cells. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2011; DOI: 10.1172/JCI44478

Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Male pattern balding may be due to stem cell inactivation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110104133905.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. (2011, January 6). Male pattern balding may be due to stem cell inactivation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110104133905.htm
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Male pattern balding may be due to stem cell inactivation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110104133905.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
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