Researchers at UC Irvine made a breakthrough that could change the lives of people who lose their hair. The discovery is down to one molecule.
According to Recent studyResearchers at California University discovered a molecule which signals hair follicles that it is time to grow hair.
They believe that the discovery of this molecule could lead to new powerful treatments for hair loss.
How does hair growth actually work?
Maksim Pilikus, UCI professor in developmental and cell biology, and one the authors of this study, said that the molecule they discovered was significant because of how hair follicles operate in humans.
Plikus explained that human hair follicles function in a similar way to a 3D printer during a telephone call.
“In a printer, you have ink in the cartridge of some form. In a hair [follicle], it would be stem cells. That would be a biological ink.”
Similar to a 3D printer, the plastic is used. “ink”The hair follicle uses stem cell technology to produce individual hairs, creating long strings of plastic.
However, the hair follicle is not able to decide to start growing hair. It’s just like a printer that can’t suddenly start printing plastic shapes.
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To tell the printer when to start printing and what it should print, Plikus stated that the printer requires a computer. “computer cells”Dermal papilla is a term for specialized fibroblasts, a type of cell that helps to create tissues.
“They contain the molecular program”Plikus explained that the dermal papilla cells control how hair grows and what hair looks like. Straight or curly; straight or thin; brown, black or blonde; growing or not — all of this information is determined by the dermalpapilla cells located at the bottom each hair follicle.
It wasn’t known until now what caused the dermal hair papillas to grow hair.
“When it works, it works well, and when it doesn’t then it doesn’t,” Plikus said.
The hair strands of human hair fall out quickly in hair follicles. “printing,”The follicles must continue to grow new hair in order to keep hair as thick and beautiful as possible.
“Think of a mega factory of 3D printers – all of them need to work, or else there will be not enough supply,” Plikus explained. Hair becomes less dense and has a more irregular texture. This can lead to hair loss.
What is the significance of this new molecule?
According to UCI, hair loss is caused by the destruction of the dermal papilla “computer cells”Stop producing SCUBE3 — The new signaling molecule discovered by researchers
This signaling molecule tells hair stem cells nearby to divide. That is what causes hair growth. Nearby hair follicles that contain a lot SCUBE3 will produce a lot more hair.
In contrast, if hair follicles don’t have enough signaling molecules, they become dormant. Dormant hair means that hair falls out and doesn’t grow back.
The molecule was activated “as a potent hair growth trigger”Plikus stated that they had conducted experiments on hair growth in mice.
How did they discover that the Molecule is responsible for growing hair?
Plikus’s experiment began with genetic modifications to the hair follicles from mice.
The hair follicles of mice are slightly different from those of humans. Mice can grow hair strands that are not growing as fast as human hair. Human hairs will fall out when hair follicles stop growing them. “glue strands in the hair follicle,” Plikus explained.
The mice are furry, but hair follicles don’t normally become active.
The genetic tweak that UCI researchers applied to mice they were studying “put this mouse’s hairs into overdrive,” Plikus said. Whatever changes researchers made to the mouse’s behavior “CPU cells”That controlled hair growth caused excessive hair growth.
Their next question was clear: What molecules did they accidentally alter by the genetic change?
Plikus identifies the SCUBE3 signaling molecular as “previously unknown to play a role”During the hair-growth process, was out “bright and flashing”They believe that it could have been a factor in the hair growth.
Researchers took the molecule they believed was involved and administered it to normal mouse hair follicles using a precise injection. The injections, which they repeatedly tested, caused hair growth in the mice.
Researchers initially thought that other molecules might be responsible for hair growth. However, they didn’t show the same effect.
It was notable that the hair growth occurred so quickly after the injections.
Researchers implanted human hair in mice by transplanting follicles from human hair. Then, they injected SCUBE3 molecules near these follicles.
Plikus stated that transplanted hair follicles can take several months to start growing hair. The cells are traumatized by the act of moving the follicles, and they will not recover. “hair is like, protesting, it shuts down,”It goes into dormancy.
Slowly, they activate and start growing again. This is why hair transplants are so successful. It can take up six months, which is longer than the time it took for the human hair follicles to grow in the experiment.
The human hair follicles of the mouse also continued to grow new hair even after SCUBE3 was removed. This is an important difference from current hair-loss treatments which require either daily use of lotion or daily pills.
“[It’s] pretty exciting,” Plikus said.
What does this all mean for hair loss treatment?
Plikus indicated that further experiments are required before the UCI study can be applied and used to develop new treatments for hairloss. Plikus is hopeful that SCUBE3 can help people with different types of alopecia — including baldness — grow new hair.
For a wide range of types of baldness, hair follicles can be used.
“No matter what’s caused the hair loss, when it’s happened, [the follicles are] there, they’re intact,” Plikus said. Scarring alopecia, caused by an auto immune disease that actually damages and injures hair follicles, is one exception.
Other types of hair loss include androgenetic hair loss (which is caused by testosterone) and chemotherapy-related hair loss. Treatments that involve the direct application SCUBE3 may be helpful.
“We would be very happy if it works on androgenetic alopecia,” Plikus said.
“These experiments provide proof-of-principle data that SCUBE3 or derived molecules can be a promising therapeutic for hair loss,”Christian Guerrero Juarez, co-first author, is a UCI postdoctoral researcher specializing in mathematics. Release about the experiment.
Plikus stated that the next step for the researchers is to begin a Phase 1 clinical study with the FDA. It means large-scale animal safety studies that will hopefully prove SCUBE3 is able to grow new hair without side effects.
“We do believe chances are pretty good, because this is a naturally occurring molecule,”Plikus stated that small amounts would be used to inject the scalp skin.
If they are successful in this phase, they may move on to human trials.
The research may also lead to stronger, more synthetic molecules inspired naturally by the SCUBE3 signaling protein.
Plikus helped to co-found a biotechnology business with the goal of moving this research into clinical trials. UCI filed a provisional patent request on the use SCUBE3 (and its related molecular compound for hair growth stimulation).