Stem cell might be behind baldness

Common baldness may be associated to a defect in stem cell. Researchers were able to discover that a cellular malfunction may be the reason why hair-producing progenitor cells cause hair loss. The defect causes the onset of androgenetic alopecia or genetic hair loss.

Men often have this as male pattern baldness marked by receding hairline and thinning of the top part of the head. Women experience a thinning of hair but not baldness.

Dr. George Cotsarelis of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine said that the findings are actually of help in finding a way to regenerate hair growth. The presence of stem cells makes it possible to treat the defect.

The study focused on human scalp tissue from 54 white men aged 40 to 65 who were both bald and haired. They found out that haired and bald tissue had the same amounts of preserved stem cells but bald tissue did not have the normal amount of progenitor cells. This causes the malfunction in the hair follicle stem cells.

There is a small amount of progenitor cells in bald tissue because the stem cells are blocked or not capable of making progenitor cells. The report was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation last January 4 and researchers believe that this will help treat baldness in the future because the problem was already identified. Researchers, though, said that there is still more work to be done.

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