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New Hair Loss Gene Discovered
Researchers from three Universities — Stanford, Rockefeller and Colombia — teamed up and discovered a gene they believe to be related to hair growth. The gene is known as adenomatosis polyposis down-regulated 1 (APCDD1) and seems to be involved in a progressive hair loss condition called hereditary hypotrichosis simplex. This condition is a rare form of hair loss that usually presents in childhood and is characterized by hair miniaturization, causing thick hair to become very fine over years.
This gene discovery represents an important breakthrough in hair loss because male pattern baldness also presents with a miniaturizing of hair follicles. It could even affect future treatments for male pattern baldness and many other forms of hair loss.
The discovery was made by looking at genetic information from families in Italy and Pakistan with this hair loss condition. Researchers discovered a common mutation on the gene, which is located on a region of chromosome 18. Previous research has also shown this chromosome to be involved with other types of hair loss.
Researchers also found that the APCDD1 gene inhibits the Wnt signaling pathway, which another study found to be responsible for controlling hair growth in mice. Now, a connection has been made between the Wnt signaling pathway and human hair loss conditions. A great deal of research has recently been conducted on the Wnt signaling pathway and how it relates to a number of hair loss conditions in humans.
The types of treatments that could develop from this research are also very important because they would involve the Wnt pathway and therefore be non-hormonal. Existing treatments for hair loss rely on blocking other hormonal pathways, so this non-hormonal treatment may allow more men and women to receive treatment for their hair loss. The study also shows that the Wnt pathway could have an effect on the growth of hair follicles, which has also never been linked to humans.
The study appeared in an April edition of Nature, and the full study may be found at http://www.nature.com/. To learn more about how the Wnt signaling pathway is involved in hair loss, hair follicles and graying hair, read our post titled “Why Does Hair Turn Gray?”.