Hair loss culprit found - it’s a gene

February 25th, 2008 - 11:47 am ICT by admin  


London, Feb 25 (IANS) Here is good news for those thinning at the top - a gene that prevents regeneration of hair has been identified. People losing their hair can now hope for medicines to inhibit this gene. A healthy individual loses about 100 hairs daily. That’s okay, as the bulk of them are replaced. The problem begins when the shedding goes beyond that number, and replacement lags.

Now, scientists at the University of Bonn have, after six years of research, identified a gene that causes a rare hereditary form of hair loss - Hypotrichosis simplex - throwing open the possibility of regenerating hair.

The defective gene was found to inhibit receptor structures on hair follicle cells from forming correctly. Such receptors play a specific role in hair growth that was previously unknown.

As part of the study, dermatologist Khalid Al Aboud of the King Faisal Hospital in Makkah examined a Saudi Arabian family with Hypotrichosis simplex.

DNA samples from the parents and from nine of their 10 children - including four sufferers - were analysed, providing the researchers the key to understanding some of the fundamental mechanisms of hair growth and loss.

The researchers now hope that this individual genetic case will lead to developments that can benefit more patients.

“Although Hypotrichosis simplex is uncommon, it may prove critical in our search to understand the mechanisms of hair growth,” said project leader Regina Betz.

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