Researchers regrow hair on wounded skin
By stirring crosstalk among skin cells that form the roots of hair, researchers report they have regrown hair strands on damaged skin. The findings better explain why hair does not normally grow on wounded skin, and may help in the search for better drugs to restore hair growth, say the study's authors
Led by researchers at NYU School of Medicine and published in November in the journal Nature Communications, the study examined the effect of distinct signaling pathways in damaged skin of laboratory mice. Experiments focused on cells called fibroblasts that secrete collagen, the structural protein most responsible for maintaining the shape and strength of skin and hair
As part of their investigation, researchers activated the sonic hedgehog signaling pathway used by cells to communicate with each other. The pathway is known to be very active during the early stages of human growth in the womb, when hair follicles are formed, but is otherwise stalled in wounded skin in healthy adults. Researchers say this possibly explains why hair follicles fail to grow in skin replaced after injury or surgery"Our results show that stimulating fibroblasts through the sonic hedgehog pathway can trigger hair growth not previously seen in wound healing," says study senior investigator and cell biologist Mayumi Ito, PhD, an associate professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Health
Regrowing hair on damaged skin is an unmet need in medicine, Ito says, because of the disfigurement suffered by thousands from trauma, burns, and other injuries. However, her more immediate goal, she adds, is to signal mature skin to revert back to its embryonic state so that it can grow new hair follicles, not just on wounded skin, but also on people who have gone bald from agingIto says scientists have until now assumed that, as part of the healing process, scarring and collagen build up in damaged skin were behind its inability to regrow hair. "Now we know that it's a signaling issue in cells that are very active as we develop in the womb, but less so in mature skin cells as we age," she adds
Key among the study's findings was that no signs of hair growth were observed in untreated skin, but were observed in treated skin, offering evidence that sonic hedgehog signaling was behind the hair growth.To bypass the risk of tumors reported in other experiments that turned on the sonic hedgehog pathway, the NYU Langone team turned on only fibroblasts located just beneath the skin's surface where hair follicle roots (dermal papillae) first appearHair regrowth was observed within four weeks after skin wounding in all treated mice, with hair root and shaft structures starting to appear after nine weeksIto says her team plans further investigations into how chemical and genetic stimulants of fibroblasts might activate the sonic hedgehog pathway in wounded human skin. Her goal is to identify likely drug targets for hair regrowth
Materials provided by NYU Langone Health / NYU School of Medicine. Note: Content may be edited for style and length
Chae Ho Lim, Qi Sun, Karan Ratti, Soung-Hoon Lee, Ying Zheng, Makoto Takeo, Wendy Lee, Piul Rabbani, Maksim V. Plikus, Jason E. Cain, David H. Wang, D. Neil Watkins, Sarah Millar, M. Mark Taketo, Peggy Myung, George Cotsarelis, Mayumi Ito. Hedgehog stimulates hair follicle neogenesis by creating inductive dermis during murine skin wound healing. Nature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07142-9
Skin and Stem Cell Research Center (SSRC) was established in March 2010 with the support from Tehran University of Medical Sciences. The SSRC is directed by professor Nilforoushzadeh in collaborating closely with an advisory board that is comprised of dermatology faculty and aims to serve as a research and educational center to promote scientific advancement in Iran. .
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