Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States have found that stem cells can play a decisive role in male pattern baldness. A study, published on Tuesday (4) by the scientific publication “Journal of Clinical Investigation,” showed that this type of cell does not work as it should on the bald scalp.
For a hair to grow, stem cells transform into other cells, called progenitor cells, that give rise to the wires. This process occurs inside the hair follicles, which are small structures of the skin where the roots of the hair are attached.
The researchers looked at hair follicles of bald people with normal hair. They came to the conclusion that the number of stem cells was about the same in both, but there was a large lack of progenitor cells in the bald.
The bottom line is that stem cells are not turning into progenitors, as they should. This breaks the hair-forming cycle, and instead of forming large, striking yarns, the follicles – which are much smaller in the bald ones – generate microscopic hair.
“There is a problem in the activation of stem cells in the conversion to progenitor cells in the bald scalp,” explains researcher George Cotsarelis, one of the authors of the study.
The next step in the research is to figure out how to make stem cells work as they should and give relief to men who do not want to lose their hairstyle. “The fact that there are a normal number of stem cells in a bald scalp gives us hope of being able to reactivate these cells,” says Cotsarelis.