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According to an article published in on line journal Plosone.org Million Mulugeta, D.V.M., Ph.D., co-director of UCLA’s preclinical stress biology research program at the University of California, Los Angeles, claim that they have uncovered a promising hair-loss treatment & may have the potential to affect hair color, including gray hair..
The experiment wasn’t focused on hair loss. Instead, it was designed to study a chemical compound that blocks the effects of stress on the gut.
The research team, during a study of the effect of a compound called Astressin-B while conducting stress-hormone experiments on mice that typically develop head-to-tail baldness as a result of being genetically altered to overproduce a stress hormone (The mice used in the experiments had been genetically altered to overproduce a stress hormone called corticotrophin-releasing factor, or CRF. Corticotropin-releasing factor over-expressing (CRF -OE)-mice that display phenotypes of Cushing's syndrome and chronic stress, including alopecia. CRF-OE mice develop bilateral symmetric hair loss in adulthood). The goal of the experiments was to study the effect of Astressin-B ((5 µg/mouse) injected peripherally once a day for 5 days) to determine whether it would block the effects of stress on the colon but accidental finding was the mice treated with Astressin –B had recovered the full cover of fur on the back in few weeks compared to the placebo ( injected with saline) given mice which did not recover. A sterssin-B induced pigmentation and hair re-growth that was largely retained for over 4 months (a significant period for average 2 years life of mouse) when mice were killed Histological examination indicated that alopecic CRF-OE mice had hair follicle atrophy and that Astressin-B revived the hair follicle from the telogen to anagen phase.
The team repeated the experiment several times and got the same results — bald mice grew new hair in a few weeks. The researchers also injected the compound into young mice before they went bald. Those mice never lost their fur.
The researcher said the compound appears to have affected the mice skin pigment as well as spurred hair growth. This could mean Astressin-B has the potential to affect hair color and gray hairs. Majority of Pigments were regained by about 1 week and the hair was regained by about 2 weeks
Temporary blockade of the CRF receptors could thus be a breakthrough therapy for alopecia particularly for patients in acute (chemotherapy, traumatic stressful events) or chronic stress setting.
Findings of a mouse study may not be applicable to humans, but results may spur more study of the role stress might play in human hair loss. Hair growth cycles are very different in mice and humans, so one could draw only limited conclusions from the research
The research would probably be useful only for hair loss related to stress, likes that caused by one-time events, rather than as a treatment for genetic baldness.