Science

The End of Baldness? The Chemical Controlling Life and Death in Hair Follicles Identified – Neuroscience News

Summary: Researchers discovered how the TGF-beta protein controls the process by which hair follicles, including stem cells, divide and form new cells or orchestrate apoptosis. The findings could provide new treatment options for baldness and therapies to speed up wound healing.

Source: UCR

A single chemical is key to controlling when hair follicle cells divide, and when they die. This discovery could not only treat baldness, but ultimately speed wound healing because follicles are a source of stem cells.

Most cells in the human body have a specific form and function determined during embryonic development that does not change. For example, a blood cell cannot turn into a nerve cell, or vice versa. Stem cells, however, are like the blank tiles in a game of Scrabble; they can turn into other types of cells. 

Their adaptability makes them useful for repairing damaged tissue or organs. 

“In science fiction when characters heal quickly from injuries, the idea is that stem cells allowed it,” said UC Riverside mathematical biologist and study co-author Qixuan Wang. 

“In real life, our new research gets us closer to understanding stem cell behavior, so that we can control it and promote wound healing,” Wang said. This research is detailed in a recent Biophysical Journal article.

The liver and stomach regenerate themselves in response to wounds. However, Wang’s team studied hair follicles because they’re the only organ in humans that regenerates automatically and periodically, even without injury. 

The researchers determined how a type of protein, TGF-beta, controls the process by which cells in hair follicles, including stem cells, divide and form new cells, or orchestrate their own death — eventually leading to the death of the whole hair follicle. 

This shows a bald man's headNew research into factors that control the life and death of hair follicle cells could help people with baldness, as well as wound healing. Credit: Helpaeatcontu

“TGF-beta has two opposite roles. It helps activate some hair follicle cells to produce new life, and later, it helps orchestrate apoptosis, the process of cell death,” Wang said. 

As with many chemicals, it is the amount that makes the difference. If the cell produces a certain quantity of TGF-beta, it activates cell division. Too much of it causes apoptosis. 

No one is entirely sure why follicles kill themselves. Some hypotheses suggest it is an inherited trait from animals shedding fur to survive hot summer temperatures or trying to camouflage. 

“Even when a hair follicle kills itself, it never kills its stem cell reservoir. When the surviving stem cells receive the signal to regenerate, they divide, make new cell and develop into a new follicle,” Wang said. 

If scientists can determine more precisely the way TGF-beta activates cell division, and how the chemical communicates with other important genes, it might be possible to activate follicle stem cells and stimulate hair growth. 

Because many animals, including humans, possess skin covered with hair, perfect wound healing would require regeneration of hair follicles. Being able to more precisely control levels of TGF-beta could also one day cure baldness, which bothers millions of people all over the world.  

“Potentially our work could offer something to help people suffering from a variety of problems,” Wang said. 

Abstract

A probabilistic Boolean model on hair follicle cell fate regulation by TGF-β

Hair follicles (HFs) are mini skin organs that undergo cyclic growth. Various signals regulate HF cell fate decisions jointly. Recent experimental results suggest that transforming growth factor beta (TGF-ββ) exhibits a dual role in HF cell fate regulation that can be either anti- or pro-apoptosis.

To understand the underlying mechanisms of HF cell fate control, we develop a novel probabilistic Boolean network (pBN) model on the HF epithelial cell gene regulation dynamics. First, the model is derived from literature, then refined using single-cell RNA sequencing data.

Using the model, we both explore the mechanisms underlying HF cell fate decisions and make predictions that could potentially guide future experiments: 1) we propose that a threshold-like switch in the TGF-ββ strength may necessitate the dual roles of TGF-ββ in either activating apoptosis or cell proliferation, in cooperation with bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and at different stages of a follicle growth cycle; 2) our model shows concordance with the high-activator-low-inhibitor theory of anagen initiation; 3) we predict that TNF may be more effective in catagen initiation than TGF-ββ, and they may cooperate in a two-step fashion; 4) finally, predictions of gene knockout and overexpression reveal the roles in HF cell fate regulations of each gene.

Attractor and motif analysis from the associated Boolean networks reveal the relations between the topological structure of the gene regulation network and the cell fate regulation mechanism.

A discrete spatial model equipped with the pBN illustrates how TGF-ββ and TNF cooperate in initiating and driving the apoptosis wave during catagen.

Society doesn’t have anything to do with the effect that going bald has on a person. Going bald makes people look completely different. Not everyone looks good bald, most don’t, it makes most people look unattractive. It sounds to me like you created your own narrative about “bald shaming”. I still have 95% of my hair, but would love to get that 5% back. Why wouldn’t I if there was really a solution that worked? People with 0 problems go through great lengths to improve their appearance even when there’s nothing to improve. This is tragic, it’s not tragic when someone with a legitimate problem wants a solution to said problem.

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  • I would like to get more information.

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    1. Hear so many times new drug but take at least 10 years if pass trials,never seem to appear.

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  • oh if it was really something that we can afford,i would use it! SIGN ME UP WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MY HAIR BACK I’M 67

    Reply

  • Gaurnteed?

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  • Knowledge leads to more knowledge along with more possibilities for other applications

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  • I lost mine getting radiation 28 years ago. Never grew back. Any help out there?

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  • Wonder if it will work post cancer treatment and with thyroid issues and family history of alopecia???

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  • I found the study as well as this information very exciting. I’d be interested to participate in further study.

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  • Brother and grandson going bald, tell me more.

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    1. propecia/finasteride work well for today.
      bu

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  • I’m interested advise how can I avail.

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  • I too share the dream for more options. Propecia and Rogaine require consistency and regularity that I’ve come to accept I will never be capable of. Of course, any new treatments will likely be out of my price range and not be included by my insurance, but the dream remains.

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  • My shaved head is my truth. I love it. I don’t know why baldness bothers people. I also don’t know why women wear makeup and fake hair. They live on a throne of lies. I enjoy my natural beauty. Would I elect this treatment to activate my natural stem cells? Maybe that would be my new truth?

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    1. Oh stop. Not everyone, especially women, wants their “truth” to be baldness. It’s about self image and acceptance, yes. But some people are lucky to have a nice shaped head for being bald and the confidence to roll with it. Many many people do not, and it is more a psychological burden than it is a physical one. This could help with mental, and sub-sequentially physical health worldwide.

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  • Baldness is NOT a disease or illness.
    There is no natural option to replace the hair that decided to leave it origin.
    Unlike overweight people who eat too much and/ or don’t exercise.. in a lot of cases they have options.
    And, in case you haven’t noticed, a lot of “ bald” guys have beautiful wives!
    We didn’t have a choice here, folks!
    And yes, being bald restricts job opportunities. Apply for a job bald, apply for same job with a head full of hair and see what happens!
    Remove the hair from some actors and see what happens! A lot wear wigs!
    Initially hair loss is a bummer. But let’s face it, we have no choice. Eventually our self esteem and confidence return and we end up having a really nice

    personality.
    Most if us are also very funny! That’s probably because we’re not into our selves and can laugh and be thankful that being bald isn’t a terminal “disease”!😂

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  • I would need this TGF product

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  • single-cell RNA sequencing data. That sentence

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    1. 💜

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      1. Hey docs,

        I started thinning in my 30s and have shaved my head for almost ten years now. Please research and provide a cream (preferably), or a pill (if you must), so that I can stop all of the hair on my head from growing so I don’t need to shave anymore. Thanks!

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  • I’m ready.Get it on the market.

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  • Can get this medicine for my hair

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    1. I,would love to see if this really does work .Age 42 hairline gone since 22 .I highly doubt it though.

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  • I am very interested in this as my hair thinning and am worried that by the time I get to dermatologist I’ll prob. Nearly be bald. It’s really stressing me out. I hide in beanies and it’s just really embarrassing.pls. help

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  • My question is how much for the golden treatment,is this made for hard working low income people that can’t afford it,or just for people that have the luxury to get it done

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    1. You’re assuming high income people aren’t hard working?

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  • I’m 62 getting the family high recsding forehead all the men father grandfather’s all started balding around age 50 .how do I get the medicine to start using it

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  • Baldness crown of hair in frontal middle of head baldness

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  • This is for Angel. I’ve seen persons that use a type of roller brush with little needles. They poke themselves with this brush and take biotin keratin even collagen and pumpkin seed oil. I believe the injury from the brush stimulates the stem cells to repair the damaged skin. The scalp then starts to repair itself. Try it.

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  • I am very interested in when this will be made available. Will it work for people with alopecia areta? I’ve about lost all my hair from this.

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  • I will like to know the natural remedy to stop baldness

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  • There’s one in every crowd, and I suppose this time it’s me. This also sounds like path to a possible treatment for permanent hair removal.

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  • like to know when do you think in your opinion this will be available to humans

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  • I would be very interested to know more about this product once it becomes available to be used.

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  • How can I sign up to do trials?

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  • So when is this going to be available?

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  • I would like to really see if it works

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    1. Wow amazing. So we’ll just keep pumping America full of drugs to treat the symptoms of all of these other diseases like hepatitis, herpes, diabetes and high blood pressure, but fear not, we’ll soon have a cure for your baldness. 🤦 Thanks but no thanks. How about treating something that actually matters.

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      1. The article and research suggest that treatment for hair regrowth would give us the means to heal wounds faster. How does that not “actually matter?” People would depend less on pain meds, which I’m turn would lead to lower pain med addiction rates.

        Also, just because we haven’t discovered cures for other debilitating diseases, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to treat other non life-threatening medical issues like baldness. That’s a sure way to hinder the growth of a society.

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      2. People have a way of deciding for themselves what actually matters, and you’ll see clear evidence of that if and when this product comes to market by looking at the astronomical revenues.

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      3. Maybe it doesn’t matter to you because you are not afflicted with hair loss. It does matter to some people. It matters to alot of people.

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        1. It definitely matters

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  • Good evening. In your article you state that-TGF-beta protein controls the process by which hair follicles, including stem cells, divide and form new cells or orchestrate apoptosis. The findings could provide new treatment options for baldness and therapies to speed up wound healing.
    Would this help with alopecia? And is there a product you could recommend for alopecia? My alopecia is waves all throughout my scalp and I have tried everything! Can you recommend something for this?

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  • so when this formula can be use on real people to see if it work to stop hair from falling out?

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    1. I want to know to how to regrow hair back.

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      1. I’m interested what I need to do?

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    2. Regenerating Hair Follicles
      ELIZABETH M. ADLER 2007

      Regenerating new hair follicles that can grow human hair.
      Oct. 22, 2013

      A cure for baldness? Researchers develop method for growing new human hair 2015
      Sure they’re on top of this. Probably goes back far more years, I’m with concerned citizen on this one.Especially these days all the things they could be studying (and yes hair is important) but cmon so much more important things they been on follicle regeneration for atleast 15 years on my short research lol. Geez

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      1. Will be very interesting. Because my hear are less and less every day are gone.
        The first of this happening cause the business are not working well.

        Reply

  • Source neurosciencenews.com

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