Scientists Find the Cause and Potential Cure for Baldness

Andrei Tapalaga

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Baldness is caused by a single chemical that could be stoppedPhoto by Gustavo Sánchez on Unsplash

For many years scientists tried to understand what exactly it is that makes men go bald. I a recent study published in the Biophisical Journal where co-author Quxuan Wang mentions that hair follicles are the only human organ that regenerates regularly and automatically. This regeneration is the cause of baldness and it is activated by a protein called TGF-beta which controls how the stem cells in hair follicles die off.

Most of the organs in the human body have the process of regeneration activated in response to wounds, but hair follicles keep on regenerating periodically without any injuries. This constant regeneration of hair follicles leads to the death of the whole hair follicle. This protein which leads to the loss of hair also has a positive benefit for the human body, as described by Wang:

“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,” (Quote by Quxuan Wang)

Although the scientists involved in the research understand the connection between stem cells and hair follicles, they still are not sure why follicles kill themselves. Some experts specialized in this field state that it may be an inherited trait from animals shedding fur to survive the hot summer temperatures o trying to blend in with the environment so they can hide from predators.

“In science fiction when characters heal quickly from injuries, the idea is that stem cells allowed it. In real life, our new research gets us closer to understanding stem cell behavior, so that we can control it and promote wound healing." (Quote by Quxuan Wang)

The findings of this study can help scientists develop a new treatment that would stop the body produce TGF-beta and replace it with another type of protein that does not activate the regeneration process. It seems that this chemical/protein which activates the regeneration process is more prominent in certain people, hence why not all men suffer from baldness.

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