A new study on the causes of male pattern baldness gives real hope for the 8 in 10 men who suffer from this most common form of hair loss. Researchers from the Dermatology Department at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have finally unlocked the secret to male pattern baldness.
According to the study’s author Dr. George Costarelis, a protein called Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) is responsible for causing hair follicles to grow thinner and weaker as men age. He said that the study took samples from the balding scalps of men with male pattern baldness and tested them against samples from parts of the head that still grew hair. The researchers found three times the amount of PGD2 in the areas that were balding than in the areas that still grew strong hair follicles.
PGD2 was then tested on mice to see what effects it had on healthy scalps. The study found that PGD2 “really decreased the growth” in the tested mice. Finally, it was determined that the PGD2 protein inhibits hair growth as it binds to the GPR44 receptor. It is this receptor that is the target for future medications that will prevent PGD2 to bind and therefore allow hair to grow to its full strength.
PGD2 isn’t the only prostaglandin that affects hair growth. F2alpha Prostaglandin, which is used in the drug Latisse, was discovered to grow eyelashes after glaucoma patients using drops that contained the protein found their eyelashes were growing longer.
Along with preventing hair to grow, prostaglandins also control cell growth as well as the constricting and dilating smooth muscle tissue.
Costarelis says a treatment is just around the corner and will likely be a topical. Considering the numbers of men who suffer from alopecia, this would be a very profitable discovery.