New Development in the Scientific Understanding of Hair Loss

Hair Loss and ProstaglandinThe new study published in the Science Translational Medicine Journal has shown there is an association of prostaglandin pathways in hair growth.  The study was done at the University of Pennsylvania and was published in March 2012 by Catseralis et. al. which reveals a new pathway for balding.  This has the potential to be a revolution in the treatment of hair loss in the most common type known as male pattern balding (see link).  Dr. Catseralis and his lab team at the University of Pennsylvania are known for their work on hair growth and its association with wound healing.  They have done similar research to what we performed at Johns Hopkins on wound healing and hair growth.  Their work on discovery of wnt-pathway has proved a link between wound healing and hair growth and has been one of the milestones in the field of hair restoration.  His other work was published in Nature Journal in 2007 (see link).

The authors review the main cause of male hair loss as testosterone.  Although the authors announce that the real mechanism of androgens on male patterned baldness is not clear, they try to go deeper and find the main mechanism of male patterned baldness at the molecular level. The study shows that the enzyme prostaglandin D2 synthase (PTGDS) is elevated at both the mRNA and protein levels in men with typical men hair loss (AGA). It is also documented that the product of PTGDS enzyme activity or prostaglandin D(2) (PGD2), is elevated in scalp skin. The animal studies show that during normal follicle cycling in mice, the levels of those prostaglandins increase, suggesting an inhibitory effect on hair growth.

They showed that applied prostaglandin (PGD2) minimizes hair growth in human hair follicles that are planted in mice. Hair growth inhibition requires the PGD(2) receptor G protein, but not the PGD(2) receptor 1 (PTGDR).

These scientists have proven that prostaglandin in the mouse skin is associated with development of men hair loss, hair miniaturization, and scalp oil gland enlargement which are all hallmarks of male patterned hair loss. The study is especially significant because it introduces prostaglandins as a main player in inhibition of hair growth in male patterned hair loss. It suggests the prostaglandin related pathway as a potential target for treatment of common hair loss in men.

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