Baldness and stem cells: What’s the connection?

Scientists from Japan have determined a new cause of hair loss, and their discovery may help in the treatment of alopecia. As the researchers found, baldness and stem cells have a lot in common. According to them, alopecia can occur due to atypical division of stem cells in hair follicles. This means that medicine could stop hair loss in elderly. Of course, first we should wait for the appropriate medicine and some new treatment method.

What baldness and stem cells have in common according to scientists

During the experiment, Japanese scientists wanted to find out how stem cell division affects hair growth during aging. To do this, they had to study the stem cells of the hair follicles of old and young mice.

Experts found that in juveniles, symmetrical and asymmetric divisions were normal. At the same time, in the elderly, scientists have noticed an atypical type of cell division. That is, as we age, stem cells become depleted and die.

In general, the viability of hair follicle stem cells depends on a combination of two types of cell division. During symmetric distribution, they divide into two types with the same proportion. In the asymmetric type, they divide into a differentiated cell along with a stem cell, which restores independently.

When these two cycles work normally, the hair follicle stem cells retain the ability to regenerate hair. However, if something goes wrong, they die. This indicates a direct connection between baldness and stem cells.

What are stem cells?

Let’s digress a bit from what baldness and stem cells have in common. So, let me remind you briefly what stem cells are.

baldness and stem cells

Briefly, stem cells are immature progenitor cells for all tissues of the body. They can become any mature cell. In fact, it explains their wide use in various fields of medicine.

Of course, different types of stem cells exist. In particular, embryonic ones formed at an early stage of intrauterine development of the fetus. Most often, doctors receive a fetal cell type after pregnancy termination. However, most often, specialists use the postnatal type of stem cells to treat patients.

How the discovery about baldness and stem cells will help in treatment

Let me remind you that during the experiment, scientists discovered a difference in the division of stem cells in hair follicles. That is, in the young, symmetrical and asymmetric division was common, while in the old it was atypical.

Due to the fact that stem cells deplete and die while a person gets older, hair follicles lose their ability to regenerate hair over time, too.

Many people lose their hair in old age. However, the discovery of a new mechanism of stem cell depletion will help in the development of new treatments for baldness. In addition, it can provide an opportunity to manage the aging process of various organs.