Saturday, 8 January 2011
Hundreds of thousands of men who worry about that bald patch on their scalps can hope for a cure, if further studies confirm what researchers have found, is the root cause of male pattern baldness.
According to researcher Luis A. Garza of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and his colleagues, a genetic defect resulting in failure to convert hair follicle stem cells in the scalp into mature progenitor cells that create hair follicles, might be the underlying cause of male-pattern baldness.
The researchers studied the scalps of nine men undergoing hair transplants and compared the hair follicles in the bald areas to those found in the hairy areas of the scalp. The number of hair follicle stem cells were abundant in the bald as well as in the hairy areas, but they noticed a deficiency in the progenitor cells in the bald patch which had .28% of the scalp cells as progenitor cells. Men with hair had 2.3% of scalp cells as progenitor cells. Progenitor cells are mature stem cells and are responsible for further cell differentiation to grow into normal hair follicles. The researchers observed that the hair follicles in the bald areas shrink and make hairs that are microscopic rather than normal hair.
Researchers are hopeful that the new findings will help develop a cure for androgenetic alopecia, AGA, hair loss both in men and women. Dr George Cotsarelis lead author of the research said, “The fact that there are normal numbers of stem cells in bald scalp gives us hope for reactivating those stem cells.”