Hair loss gene discovered
Washington: American researchers have
claimed to have discovered a gene that causes hereditary
baldness, which may lead to effective hair loss treatment.
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have
identified a gene -- APCDD1 -- that causes hair follicles to
shrink, leading to thinner hair known as `peach fuzz`.
"The identification of this gene underlying hereditary
hypotrichosis simplex has afforded us an opportunity to gain
insight into the process of hair follicle miniaturisation,
which is most commonly observed in male pattern hair loss or
androgenetic alopecia," lead author Dr Angela Christiano said.
After studying data from families in Pakistan and Italy
with hereditary hypotrichosis simplex, the team identified a
common mutation in the APCDD1 gene, which is located in a
specific region on a chromosome 18 that has been linked in
previous studies to hair loss.
The condition leading to thinning hair is known as
hereditary hypotrichosis simplex.
"It is important to note that while these two conditions
share the same physiologic process, the gene we discovered for
hereditary hypotrichosis does not explain the complex process
of male pattern baldness," Christiano said.
It inhibits a signal pathway known as Wnt which has been
shown to control hair growth in mice, but has only now been
linked to the human condition, Daily Mail reported.
Dr Christiano said, "We have at last made a connection
between Wnt signalling and human hair disease that is highly
"We have years of beautiful data in our field about hair
growth in mice, but this is the first inroad into showing that
the same pathway is critical in human hair growth.
"This is the first mutation in a Wnt inhibitor that
deregulates the pathway in a human hair disease. Furthermore,
these findings suggest that manipulating the Wnt pathway may
have an effect on hair follicle growth - for the first time,
The author said that unlike commonly available
treatments for hair loss that involve blocking hormonal
pathways, treatments involving the Wnt pathway would be
non-hormonal, which may enable many more people suffering from
hair loss to receive such therapies".
First Published: Thursday, April 15, 2010, 00:00
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