Articles Tagged with: genetic markers
New Hair Loss Gene Discovered- APCDD1

New Research Reveals Over 250 Genetic Signals for Hair Loss

New Hair Loss Gene Discovered- APCDD1While male pattern baldness affects most older men, research on genetic predisposition to baldness has been minimal – until now. In a recent study published in the journal PLOS Genetics, a Scottish research team from the University of Edinburgh found nearly 300 genetic ties to hair loss, helping identify potential chromosomal markers of male pattern baldness.

The study analyzed over 52,000 male participants between the ages of 40 and 69-years-old. This is the largest genetic report on male pattern baldness to date.

“We identified hundreds of new genetic signals,” said Saskia Hagenaars, co-lead author of the study, in a news release. “It was interesting to find that many of the genetics signals for male pattern baldness came from the X chromosome, which men inherit from their mothers.”

Based on the genetic variants between a discovery sample (40,000 subjects) and a target sample (12,000 subjects) that distinguished patients with no hair loss and severe hair loss, the team developed an algorithm to forecast who may develop male pattern baldness. The higher the patients genetic (polygenic) score, the more likely they were to suffer from male pattern baldness. Among participants with a sub-median score, 14 percent showed severe hair loss while 39 percent had no hair loss. Meanwhile, 58 percent of patients who scored within the top 10 percent showed moderate-to-severe hair loss.

genetic hair loss

Fig 3. Distribution of hair loss by male pattern baldness polygenic score decile in the independent sample. Source: PLOS Genetics

For the most part, the genes identified are associated with hair structure and development. These findings could support early diagnosis and better treatment of male pattern baldness in the future.

 “We are still a long way from making an accurate prediction for an individual’s hair loss pattern,” said principal investigator Dr. Riccardo Marioni. “However, these results take us one step closer.”

As noted in the report, male pattern baldness affects approximately 80 percent of men by age 80. Balding can lead to substantial emotional issues, including diminished self-confidence, social isolation and depression. Past research has also linked baldness to an increased risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Download and read the full study here.

Discovery of New Stem Cells May Hold Future Hair Loss Cure

Researchers have long pursued the discovery of stem cell that could quickly and easily reverse the signs of hair loss. Such a cell would function as a proverbial “on/off switch,” giving hair loss physicians the ability to induce new hair growth across areas of bald skin. Men and women who suffer with androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness) would not be the only benefactors; individuals who suffer hair loss following severe injuries, burns, or illnesses could also benefit from a quick and easy hair loss treatment protocol directed through a specific stem cell.

This December, a discovery at the University of Calgary indicates that researchers might be closer to this dream. Dr. Jeff Biernaskie, a Veterinary Medicine professor, published research findings in the December 2014 issue of the Developmental Cell journal that identify certain self-renewing cells located in the dermal sheath that play an integral role in managing hair growth. One day, hair loss professionals may be able to target these cells with specially formulated drugs to induce new hair growth in a precise and controlled fashion. Says Dr. Biernaskie, “We hope that we can ultimately stimulate these cells with drugs to replenish or rejuvenate the cells that are responsible for inducing hair growth,” (i). To understand how these self-renewing cells might someday cure hair loss, it’s helpful to first understand the role dermal papilla plays in overseeing normal hair growth.

The dermal papilla is a cluster of cells located at the base of the hair follicle. Dermatologists have long understood that this cluster of cells stimulates new hair growth via epidermal cells and the hair follicle. Exactly how the dermal papilla oversees this process, however, has largely remained a mystery until recently. Moreover, research indicates that dysfunctional dermal papilla are common among individuals with pattern baldness.

“When you lose your hair, particularly in male pattern baldness, we know the reason you go bald is because of dysfunction of[…] dermal papilla,” explains Dr. Biernaskie.

But what if certain neighboring cells could be used to resuscitate dormant dermal papilla? This question became the inspiration for the central hypothesis tested by Dr. Biernaskie and his research team. To identify these potential cells, the team used genetic markers to label individual cells within the dermal sheath. While monitoring the cells, the team made an exciting discovery: A small number of cells within the dermal sheath exhibited the ability to self-renew, creating new cells in each hair follicle. Those new cells included new dermal papilla, which ultimately have the power to facilitate new hair growth.

Commenting on the discovery, Dr. Biernaskie says, “We know that there is a small group of dermal stem cells in each follicle, we know where they reside[…] down the road, we might be able to look at different drugs that activate these cells[…] in order to stimulate new hair growth.”

Sources

(i) http://www.ucalgary.ca/utoday/issue/2014-12-10/stem-cell-discovery-sheds-new-light-hair-growth

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