Yale scientists find stem cells that tell hair it's time to grow

September 1, 2011

Yale researchers have discovered the source of signals that trigger hair growth, an insight that may lead to new treatments for baldness.

The researchers identified stem cells within the skin's fatty layer and showed that from these cells were necessary to spur in , according to research published in the Sept. 2 issue of the journal Cell.

"If we can get these in the skin to talk to the dormant stem cells at the base of hair follicles, we might be able to get hair to grow again," said Valerie Horsley, assistant professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology and senior author of the paper.

Men with male pattern baldness still have stem cells in follicle roots but these stem cells lose the ability to jump-start hair regeneration. Scientists have known that these follicle stem cells need signals from within the skin to grow hair, but the source of those signals has been unclear.

Horsley's team observed that when hair dies, the layer of fat in the scalp that comprises most of the skin's thickness shrinks. When hair growth begins, the fat layer expands in a process called adipogenesis. Researchers found that a type of stem cell involved in creation of new fat cells — adipose precursor cells — was required for hair regeneration in mice. They also found these cells produce molecules called PDGF (platelet derived growth factors), which are necessary to produce hair growth.

Horsley's lab is trying to identify other signals produced by adipose precursor that may play a role in regulating hair growth. She also wants to know whether these same signals are required for human hair growth. Other authors from Yale are lead author Eric Festa, Jackie Fretz, Ryan Berry, Barbara Schmidt, Matthew Rodeheffer and Mark Horowitz.

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not rated yet Sep 01, 2011
Reverse engineering the source signal means no more barber or hair salons. No shaving either. Brave new world.
1 / 5 (1) Sep 01, 2011
I wish I lived 100 years from now... I wouldn't have thinning hair!
not rated yet Sep 01, 2011
not rated yet Sep 01, 2011
I wish I lived 100 years from now... I wouldn't have thinning hair!

why 100 ? in 5-10 years you probably won't have this problem
not rated yet Sep 01, 2011
For those of us tired of watching the race between our hair going grey and going away - we salute you!
not rated yet Sep 01, 2011
As someone that has a full head of hair and no chance of balding or receding, I feel for you all. Hair truly puts you above the rest in terms of mating potential. But, then again, bald dads do produce females that love the baldies, so you guys shouldn't fret so much. Being bald can be a winner. My cousin has been bald since his teens and his head has never looked better.
not rated yet Sep 02, 2011
Oh man. If you guys can regrow my hair I will throw you all the most awesome party at some place really cool. I would be so happy to grow my hair back. How long until they can stimulate the stem cell to regrow the hair and get it past the FDA? I won't be really bald for another 7-10 years. I hope they can get it working soon!
1 / 5 (2) Sep 02, 2011
Can you make hair grow faster? Bangs by Tuesday Please!
*batters eyelashes*


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