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Stem Cell Cause of Baldness??

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While not being a life threatening condition, male pattern baldness affects (or will affect!) a great number of males and can also affect females too. A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation by Garza et al., from the lab of George Cotsarelis at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine places the blame for this condition squarely at the feet of our stem cells. Common baldness (or Androgenetic alopecia (AGA)), is characterized by a marked decrease in hair follicle size but this had not previously been linked to the stem cells which reside within the hair follicle. The study found that the resident hair follicle stem cells remain at the same number in bald and control patients but the conversion of stem cells to the progenitor cells required for cell and hair growth was diminished in bald patients, leading to the miniaturisation of the hair follicle stem cell compartment. Therefore strategies to coax the stem cells into producing more hair follicle progenitor cells may generate bigger hair follicles capable of restoring hair growth.

 

References
Garza LA et al. Bald scalp in men with androgenetic alopecia retains hair follicle stem cells but lacks CD200-rich and CD34-positive hair follicle progenitor cells. J Clin Invest. 2011 Jan 4.