Hair Follicle Regeneration
Before, researchers believed that hair follicle regeneration in adult mammal skin was entirely impossible. This is because scientists and dermatologists believed that mammals generally did not have regenerative qualities. Although it was found the liver has the ability to regenerate some of its parts, the case is considered as an invalid "de novo regeneration" primarily because it cannot regenerate if a significant portion of the organ is not present. As such, they noted that if hair follicles are destroyed or impaired, it cannot be reconstructed or restored.
Through a new study recently conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, researchers found out that wound healing in a mouse model provided an opportunity dubbed as an "embryonic window". In the said study, some dormant embryonic molecular passages were regenerated. As a result, stem cells were sent to the wounded area. Surprisingly, new hair follicles regenerated from the transported stem cells which were non hair-follicle cells.
Important Implications of the Study
The study notes that hair follicle regeneration might be possible among adult mammals. This was implied through a mouse model experiment which showed that hair follicle regeneration among adult mice is possible once embryonic genes are "reawakened". Such studies provided evidence that mammals also have the ability to regenerate in the same way as newts and salamanders. Furthermore, researchers noted that once this process is further understood new hair loss treatments might be discovered in parallel to treatments for various skin diseases and wounds.
Senior author of the said study, Dr. George Cotsarelis, Associate Professor of Dermatology from the said university explains that they were able to demonstrate that "wound healing triggered an embryonic state in the skin which made it receptive to receiving instructions from WNT proteins." She further points out that these WNTs are protein components that are largely important for the development of hair follicles in mammals.
Through the study, the researchers discovered that wound healing can be promoted through the use of WNTs and other proteins that are vital for skin healing. They point out that the use of WNTs can prompt significant development in wound healing. They noted that aside from the prevention of scarring, regeneration of hair follicles, oil glands, and other normal skin components can be expected. Dr. Cotsarelis says that if more WNT proteins are transported to the wound, the embryonic genes will promote skin regeneration, not just simple clotting and repair. If the level of the WNT proteins is increased, the number of the new hair follicles also increases.
Do you know that just because your hair follicles get into the dormant stage, they can actually still be regrown if you take the proper steps? It's true, even though some of your may have stopped growing, you can still regrow it.