Progenitor Cells Could Play Key Role In Hair Loss Prevention, CureMay 18th, 2011
We recently discussed ground-breaking research that pointed to the important differences between stem cells and progenitor cells in the development of common baldness, or androgenetic alopecia (AGA).
In the March/April 2011 issue of Hair Transplant Forum International we see a review of that research and another indication of the importance of this research in achieving the goal of being able to clone human hair.
It is now well established that, in each hair cycle, stem cells divide and generate progenitor cells, and that these progenitor cells stimulate the growth of the hair follicle. In conducting the experiment, the scientists’ original hypothesis was that the number of stem cells would be lower in scalp samples from bald areas than areas of scalp with hair. Surprisingly, they found that the stem cells were present in both samples. However, they found that the amount of progenitor cells in the samples with hair was significantly higher in comparison to the bald samples. These findings suggest that it is not a reduced number of stem cells that leads to AGA, but the decreased conversion of stem cells into progenitor cells.
The research also suggests that the conversion of stem cells to progenitor cells may be the crucial mechanism that, when disrupted, leads to miniaturization of hair follicles, and common baldness. If there was a way to prevent the breakdown of stem cell conversion to progenitor cells, that could, in theory, stop the process of miniaturization and prevent androgenetic alopecia from occurring.
The study’s results, and the review in the hair restoration journal, indicate that, while a great deal of research must still be conducted, the scientific community is zeroing in on the cause of, and a potential cure for, genetic hair loss which has affected men and women for millennia.
For further reading on this exciting topic, here are some links:
- Article detailing the research on stem cells and progenitor cells
- Posts tagged “Stem Cells” on the Hair Transplant Blog
- Read about causes of hair loss in men for a discussion on miniaturization and how it causes hair loss
- Article on the use of stem cells to treat hair loss