Cure for baldness? Scientists reverse baldness in mice

A cure for baldness might be closer than you think. Find out how scientists accidently found a possible treatment for baldness when studying all things stress.
Written by Boonsri Dickinson, Contributing Editor

Stress can make those gray hairs pop up or can even induce hair loss. And the over-the-counter remedies might be a waste of time. But those looking for a more permanent solution might be happy to know that scientists might have accidentally stumbled upon a cure for baldness.

Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles studying the interplay between stress and the gut, just happened to discover a compound that can block a stress-related hormone.

The mice had been genetically modified to become chronically stressed. As a result, the stressed out mice produced a hormone known as corticotrophin-releasing factor, or CRF. The mice got older, and began to lose hair on their back. Then UCLA collaborators at the Salk Institute, created a compound that could block the stress hormone. After a series of injections with the astressin-B peptide, the hair on the back of the mice ...grew back!

It only took a 5-day treatment to restore the balding regions for four months. The short treatment had relatively long-lasting effects, considering mice normally live for two years.

However, don't throw away the Rogaine (or minoxidili) just yet. It might be a while before this discovery is tested in humans.

But the scientists are convinced their discovery is worth protecting. The scientists filed a patent describing how astressin-B peptide would be used as a method of regrowing hair. After all, the mice showed signs of mild regrowth when minoxidil was applied, which was expected. It has the same effect on humans. In theory, the new compound should also workfor humans as it did in the chronically stressed out mice.

Million Mulugeta, a professor of medicine at UCLA, said in a statement:

This could open new venues to treat hair loss in humans through the modulation of the stress hormone receptors, particularly hair loss related to chronic stress and aging.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards