Hair growth, discovery of a molecule that is able to stimulate it


Scube3: this is the name of the protein which University of California researchers have identified as key component in hair growth e hair. The study, conducted in mice and human cells, shows that administering this molecule would activate the multiplication of hair follicles and hair growth. According to the authors, this discovery, the results of which were published in the journal Developmental Cellcould lead to the development of therapeutic treatments for hair lossespecially if due to androgenetic alopecia, the main cause of baldness in men and women.

The ‘messenger’ protein

The dermal papilla is a structure of the skin that hosts different types of cells (including fibroblasts, which have structural and signaling functions to neighboring cells) and which is involved in the growth phases of the hair follicle, communicating with it through numerous molecular communication routes. Although the dermal papilla has long been known to play a vital role in controlling hair growth, the molecules involved in these mechanisms they are still little known. As often happens when we talk about biological systems, in fact, there are many proteins produced by fibroblasts of the papilla and by cells to be implicated in these signals, activating or stopping the growth and multiplication of cells in the hair follicles.

Between proteins able to activate these signaling pathways, the researchers, developing in the laboratory models of mice that produced excess hair, have identified Scube3. This moleculein fact, which is normally found only in the growing dermal papillae but not in the quiescent ones, was able to activate massively the multiplication of the hair follicle and hair growth, while inhibiting the signaling pathway that Scube3 activated, the stimulating effect on the hair ceased.

From mice to humans

Once the effects of Scube3 were tested on mice, the researchers wanted to move towards applications in humans, carrying out protein micro-injections on the skin of mice into which they were transplanted human scalp follicles. The results were extremely promising: the administration of Scube3, in fact, was able to activate growth in follicles as well hair humans.

Nell’alopecia androgeneticin fact, the main cause of baldness both in men (where it is more frequent) and in women, the cells of the dermal papilla are not functioning properly and drastically decrease all the molecules normally involved in the signaling pathways that activate the hair follicle. Finding a system that can stimulate and restore these mechanisms therefore seems to be the most promising way against the fall of hair.

There is a strong need for new and effective hair loss medications – compounds that are normally produced by dermal papilla cells are ideal candidates for next generation treatment“, conclude Plikus. “Our human hair transplant model test validates Scube3’s preclinical potential“. Therefore, the studies continue fast: in the meantime one has already been filed patent application on Scube3 and its future uses.


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