In two studies published in this week’s prestigious ‘Science’ magazine, researchers from the United States and Japan reveal findings that contribute to a better understanding of the baldness process and, more broadly, the aging process of the human body.
Hiroyuki Matsumura of the University of Tokyo, responsible for one of the articles, used rats to study hair follicles. At 18 months, when the hairs of the mice began to fall, the analysis of the skin showed that the follicles were smaller, less abundant and thinner. This led the researchers to believe that the problem originated in the stem cells themselves responsible for making the hair follicles.
“Our study revealed that mammalian follicles miniaturize and generally disappear from the skin during the aging of mice and humans, regardless of gender,” Matsumura said in the article. Scientists also found that the problem apparently is in changes that occur in the environment of dividing these structures rather than in the stem cell, which facilitates a possible attempt to reverse the aging process.
“In androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness), hair fibers become shorter, thinner and thinner as hair on the scalp is replaced. But even in the early stages of this condition, hair follicles appear normal : The problem is a failure in the process of activating these cells to form the new ones, “says Cheng-Ming Chuong of the University of California at Los Angeles.
“Research suggests that the problem is not in the stem cell per se, but in the environment that affects stem cells. This suggests that, in theory, modifying this environment could reverse the process,” says the pathology researcher who does not Participated in the studies.
According to the researchers, the possibility of discovering the mechanism of reversing the aging of the hair, can indicate ways for cellular regeneration in other fields.