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Can Stem Cells Alter Hair Follicles Growth?

The process of hair follicles growth is one that has only been understood on the cellular level in the last ten years. There were a number of theories when research began. However, as is normally true with all theories, surprises happen. Scientists accidentally stumbled across an unexpected result when investigating a compound to be used for intestinal relief in cases of stress. The compound grew hair instead.

The furry mice surprise discovery led to studies on the reaction of hair follicles growth in signaling paths. The knowledge of how communication receptors interact with genes was not yet documented. One of the findings led to replicating the stem cells from healthy hair follicles in compound that included the fatty tissue found beneath the skin.

This fatty tissue carries hair stem cells, as well. Some research labs are using the tissue cells to replicate hair follicles growth studies. Sometimes referred to as “fat” stem cells, these tissue replications indicate that hair cells are a much more complex biosystem than originally thought.

Hair follicles growth has been assumed to be cyclical but the cycle mechanism was only realized during research into replication projects. Scientists expected that the cycle of growth and rest in hair growth was between 6 months and a year. The studies showed that there are millions of follicles at rest while others are in some phase of growth. The cyclical activity actually takes between 5 and 7 years.

This lengthy rest period explained why hairs were not immediately replaced when some fell out. In closer studies, it became evident that each cell within a follicle has a particular purpose for existing. In laymen’s terms, all cells are specialists. There are communicators and receptors. When the pathway between them is blocked by an overproduction of hormones, for example, the cells that are to initiate growth activity remains dormant.
The other issue that is discovered to exist in male pattern baldness, female pattern baldness and hypotrichosis simplex is the miniaturization of follicles. Scientists state that this is caused in part by the increase of the hormone, DHT. DHT is thought to create a blockage in the production of follicles by shrinking them. The other discovery by scientists is that a gene called APCDD1 has a lot to do with this miniaturization.

From that discovery, pharmaceutical projects are in process to use stem cells from this gene, from healthy sheath caps, and from tissue around the follicles in developing a stem cell solution to repair and replace hair follicles growth that has been damaged.

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