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A) Progenitor cells in green. B) Progenitor cells in brown. C) Hair follicle that is rich with stem cell and progenitor cells  (Source: George Cotsarelis, MD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine)
Researchers are looking to develop cell-based treatments

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that stem cells play a vital role in male pattern baldness. 

George Cotsarelis, MD, study leader and chair of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, along with a team of researchers, have discovered that the amount of stem cells on the scalp may determine male pattern baldness

Researchers came to this conclusion after comparing samples from men who were going through hair transplants. When looking at samples from both bald parts of the scalp and non-bald parts of the scalp, both had the same number of stem cells. 

"We asked: 'Are stem cells depleted in bald scalp?'" said Cotsarelis. "We were surprised to find the number of stem cells was the same in the bald part of the scalp compared with other places, but did find a difference in the abundance of a specific type of cell, thought to be a progenitor cell. This implies that there is a problem in the activation of stem cells converting to progenitor cells in bald scalp."

Cotsarelis and his team of researchers studied their theory a little closer, and found that hair follicles shrink rather than disappear in male pattern baldness. So hair is available in bald spots of the scalp, but it's microscopic compared to other non-balding parts due to the stem cells' problem with activation. 

Cotsarelis found similar results in 2007 while studying hair follicles in adult mice. He discovered that “re-awakening” dormant genes in developing embryos could regenerate hair follicles. They used wound healing in these models to manipulate certain traits, and by stimulating these once-active genes; stem cells formed new hair follicles. 

Researchers are unsure as to why stem cells refuse to convert into the progenitor cells to maintain a certain amount of hair follicles, but they remain hopeful due to the fact that both areas on the scalp have the same number of stem cells. That way, they can find ways to stimulate stem cell conversion and re-grow the hair in bald areas. 

In addition to this study, Cotsarelis and his team would like to study female pattern baldness as well for comparison purposes. This could lead to a larger understanding of why the hair shrinks in humans, and could lead to the development of cell-based treatments for male and possibly female pattern baldness. 

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How Long?
By Quinocampa on 1/5/2011 10:42:36 AM , Rating: 5
At age 42, timing is of the essence. I'd love to regrow my hair before I'm, say, 50? I think it'd knock those 8 years right back off my looks!

RE: How Long?
By MozeeToby on 1/5/2011 11:18:43 AM , Rating: 3
If you have pattern baldness (spreading from a spot on the top of your head) Rogain is 90+% effective. On the other hand, try having non-pattern baldness (spreading from the front of the hairline, back) at 26; short of doing restoration surgery there's no effective treatment.

My wife, who is actually younger than me, gets carded everywhere we go, whereas the same people smirk if I go to pull out my ID.

RE: How Long?
By tmouse on 1/5/2011 12:10:37 PM , Rating: 3
Totally correct.

Tiffany do you even remotely try to understand what you write (copy?)
This could lead to a larger understanding of why the hair shrinks in humans, and could lead to the development of cell-based treatments for male and possibly female pattern baldness.

I’m assuming this is your statement, in the article it clearly states:
"We were surprised to find the number of stem cells was the same in the bald part of the scalp compared with other places, but did find a difference in the abundance of a specific type of cell, thought to be a progenitor cell.

The stem cells are there so cell based therapies would be useless. Now inducing differentiation is another story but that would not be cell based.

For some reason the researchers seem to be confused regarding the terms stem cell and progenitor cell. They describe a lack of "activation" (I assume they mean progression) of the stem cells for the hair loss. While progenitor can be used to imply a lineage relationship from a stem cell it is confusing since it usually implies the first or at least a node turning point with the remaining cells being descendants. I do not know if that confused terminology is truly from them or poor writing.

Failure of stem cell maturation makes sense since minoxidil is both a vasodilator as well as an activator of prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase (PGHS), either could affect stem cell progression (the latter more likely). On a side note if one has pattern baldness they should also minimize the use of NSAIDs as these are inhibitors of PGHS-1 (PGHS-2 is the inducible form) which has been shown to accelerate hair loss (possibly by targeting PGHS-1).

RE: How Long?
By rs2 on 1/5/2011 5:38:21 PM , Rating: 2
Finasteride (Propecia) is available now, and highly effective. You'd probably have better odds with that than with waiting to see if this research leads to new treatments in 8 years or less.

And if you have your doctor prescribe the 5 mg generic version (Proscar I think it's called) instead of the 1 mg version it only costs a few dollars a month.

ha !
By Soulkeeper on 1/5/2011 11:47:45 AM , Rating: 2
If I went bald, I'd just accept it and possibly polish my head for the ladies :)

RE: ha !
By JediJeb on 1/5/2011 2:47:27 PM , Rating: 2
Some studies have shown that baldness is related to higher levels of testosterone, which in turn is related to increased libido.

Maybe a little off the top leads to more strength below ;)

RE: ha !
By Justin Time on 1/5/2011 3:51:28 PM , Rating: 4
It's a solar panel for the sex-machine.

More Funding Required
By UserDoesNotExist on 1/5/2011 12:34:45 PM , Rating: 5
As someone who has just started balding at age 25 (and I was the lucky one out of my brothers, one of my younger brothers is close to bald), I deem this to be the greatest scientific challenge to be overcome in our time. Massive amounts of funding need to be invested in this project immediately to find a cure by this Saturday when I'm having a party, and everyone who disagrees with me is an anti-science Southern redneck Jesusfreak high school dropout who probably kills homeless people on the streets. You don't want to be an anti-science Southern redneck Jesusfreak high school dropout, do you?

By fic2 on 1/5/2011 10:32:58 AM , Rating: 2
So, I have a full head of hair I just need to find a woman with microscopic vision to see it....

Maybe in 10 years everyone can see it and I can get rid of the razor.

By Hafgrim on 1/6/2011 12:55:48 AM , Rating: 2
I believe some types of male pattern baldness is related to certain types of tooth decay and that no one has really taken notice of the coincidence. I want to know if there has been any studies done on this relationship. I have a brother who is a dentist and i have been watching his work a lot lately and i have noticed a surprising commonality between men who have had certain types of tooth problems and usually have a certain type of pattern baldness.

Maybe tooth decay of a certain type causes the body to turn off hair folical regenration more often in males due to certain nutrient or cell deficiencies caused by increased reactions to having the body fight off the tooth decay infections more often in the damaged teeth. I hope a study is done into this soon, which maybe the root cause of all of this to begin with. So that we can -
"Treat the source not the symptom".


I'm not going bald....
By darkpuppet on 1/6/2011 1:00:32 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not going bald, I'm just getting more head!

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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