Hair Loss Gene Identified in MiceMay 27th, 2009
Japanese scientists have located a gene that seems to regulate hair loss in mice. They feel that this gene may also play a role in hair loss in humans. The results of the studies were recently reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers produced a strain of mice lacking in the Sox21 gene. As a result, the mice began to lose hair starting eleven days after birth. By the forth week, the mice were entirely devoid of hair. What was most interesting was that during the fourth week hair started to re-grow, but then eventually fell out starting the cycle again. These cycles were noted to repeat for as long as two years.
The scientific team is headed by Yumiko Saga of the Division of Mammalian Development at the National Institute of Genetics in Mishima, Japan. He stated that “The gene is likely involved with the differentiation of stem cells that form the outer layer of the hair shaft.”
The same Sox21 gene causing this cyclical hair loss in mice was also found in human hair shafts, so it is hypothesized that his gene might possibly be related to baldness in humans.