A study has revealed a biological clue to the cause of male pattern baldness. The discovery has led to the prospect of treating baldness with creams or even reversing thinning hair.
US scientists have identified a protein that is responsible for triggering hair loss. A genetic analysis of tissue taken from both bald and follically-rich areas on men's scalps was behind the identification of the protein. The research into developing the drug that will inhibit the rogue protein is already in use. Identification of this protein should expedite drug manufacturing.
The research which took place at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania was published in the Science Translational Medicine journal. Here scientists found Prostaglandin D2 inhibits hair growth and is more prevalent in bald men.
More than a decade ago, Digital Journal reported the cure for baldness was still thin on top, so with a potential for developing a treatment that can be applied to the balding or thinning scalps to prevent baldness and aid hair growth, it gives millions of men worldwide a breakthrough. Male pattern baldness affects 8 out of 10 men at some point in their lives. The pattern causes hair follicles to shrink and produce microscopic hairs, which still grow but for a shorter duration of time than normal hairs, reports Fox News.
Once the scientists identified the protein, they did further tests on mice to study what effect Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) had on hair in mice and hair follicles grown in a lab. Dr. George Cotsarelis, chairman at Perelman School said:
We looked at bald scalps last year and saw the hair follicles were still present, so we inferred there was either a lack of an activator [to spur hair growth] or the presence of an inhibitor. It really decreased the growth, nobody had any idea that PGD2 had anything to do with hair growth.
Mice bred to have high levels of the protein went completely bald, while transplanted human hairs stopped growing when given the protein, reports the BBC. Patients with glaucoma were using Lumigan, an eye-drop that helps to reduce intraocular pressure, contained the prostaglandin and noticed their eyelashes growing. The study therefore concludes this latest finding means a treatment for male pattern baldness may be on the way soon.