Washington: UCLA scientists may have found a possible solution to an age-old problem – hair loss.
The researchers, along with the Veterans Administration that was investigating how stress affects gastrointestinal function may have found a chemical compound that induces hair growth by blocking a stress-related hormone associated with hair loss.
"Our findings show that a short-duration treatment with this compound causes an astounding long-term hair regrowth in chronically stressed mutant mice," said Million Mulugeta, an adjunct professor of medicine in the division of digestive diseases.
"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," he added.
With age, mice produced a stress hormone called corticotrophin-releasing factor, or CRF that is associated with hair loss. The Salk Institute researchers had developed the chemical compound, a peptide called astressin-B, and described its ability to block the action of CRF.
About three months later, the investigators found that they had regrown hair on their previously bald backs.
"When we analyzed the identification number of the mice that had grown hair we found that, indeed, the astressin-B peptide was responsible for the remarkable hair growth in the bald mice," Mulugeta said.
Just one shot per day for five consecutive days maintained the effects for up to four months.
The team added that only further studies would tell if the effect would be seen in humans too.
The find is published in the online journal PLoS One.