Gene Study on Gray Hair, Fuchs Article: Weekly Thoughts 3/3/16

Hello Everybody,

As always, it is nice to be here with you to report on the latest hair growth related news for this edition of Weekly Thoughts.

Major Gene Study All About Follicles

A study lead by Kaustubh Adhikari of University College London has mapped out a gene analysis for some of the major characteristics related to hair follicles. The image below was released in the published study and displays a nice overview of the findings.
British scientists have got to the root of why some people go grey more quickly than others. The top of the diagram shows drawings illustrating the seven hair features examined in the study sample. Thick lines connect these features with the genes identified
The researchers from University College London refer to this study as a “genome-wide association scan”, which was completed using blood samples from over 6,000 Latin Americans. The research showed that certain genes were associated with common hair characteristics. The gene markers for hair characteristics that were identified included: balding, curly hair, gray hair, uni-brows, eyebrow thickness, and beard thickness. This was the first time a specific gene was identified for gray hair, that gene is known as IRF4. The gene linked to baldness is known as GRID1. It’s mentioned in this article that the researchers plan to look further into these discoveries to see how they can be used in treatments, but there is no mention of how soon that might be.

It seems to me that this research is indeed groundbreaking for the amount of understanding it provides to other researchers who are working on hair follicle biology, similar in a sense to the visionary project of Hair-Gel.net.

New Research from Elaine Fuchs

Prominent hair follicle researcher, Elaine Fuchs, has published a new research article with her lab pertaining to stem cells in the bulge of hair follicles. The lead author of the article is Kenneth Lay, a graduate student of The Rockerfeller University. The study was done in mice and centered around a gene called FOXC1. When mice were bred without the FOXC1 gene it was observed that the hair follicle stem cells grew hairs more frequently than they do in normal mouse biology. Alternatively, hair follicle stem cells with the FOXC1 gene intact are generally in a resting state and wait for a biological signal to initiate their growth phase.

This research is interesting because it shows that the hair follicle growth cycle was sped up by removing a gene. There is a caveat, though. Several issues need to be addressed when manipulating the FOXC1 gene. For example, the older mice in the study with FOXC1 taken out had less overall hair and more gray pigment than the mice who were not FOXC1 deficient. It seems that speeding up the hair follicle cycling with FOXC1 knockout alone throws a few mechanisms out of balance. Still, it definitely provides more insight into the game called “understanding how to make hair grow.”

Don’t Forget, Samumed in 2 Days!

As mentioned in a recent post, Samumed will be presenting results from their phase 2 trial at the 74th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology on March 5, 2016. Many people, including myself, are eager to see what they’ve got to share. I’m grateful for any improvement that this treatment can add and consider it a blessing to hear such news soon.

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