Scientists crack hair loss mystery, in mice to begin with

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A team of scientists from Mumbai has uncovered a cause for permanent hair loss. They have found that over-expression of a protein called phospholipase A2-IIA could cause hair loss in mice.

The scientists from the Mumbai-based Advanced Center for Treatment Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC) and the Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI) have reached this conclusion after conducting studies with mice models.

The mice that expressed high levels of phospholipaseA2-IIA protein showed progressive hair loss that commenced soon after birth. The hair loss began 18 days post birth and by 22 days, they had lost most of their hair. The hair re-grew by day 27 post-birth. But, it kept falling off repeatedly every 18-22 days.

Speaking to India Science Wire, Sanjeev Waghmare, Professor at ACTREC and leader of the research team, said hair loss was occurring due to loss of the functional hair follicle stem cells, which are present in the bulge region of the hair root that produces hair throughout life. “When the secretory phospholipase protein is over-expressed or present in high quantities, it causes rapid and uncontrolled proliferation of the stem cells, leading to an abnormally formed hair shaft, and as a result the mice kept losing hair soon after they grow them,” he added.

“We were studying the phospholipase A2-IIA mediated signaling mechanism and found it plays an important role in development of alopecia or hair loss. This discovery can be extended to understand the mechanism involved in the development of human alopecia, which may help to design novel interventions in the future”, he added.

Besides Dr. Waghmare, the team included Gopal Chovatiya, Rahul Sarate, Raghava Sunkara, Nilesh Gawas and Vineet Kala. The research is partly funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The researchers have published their findings in journal Scientific Reports.

[“Source-thehindubusinessline”]