Just as people’s joints can get stiff as they age and make it harder for them to move around, hair follicle stem cells also get stiff, making it harder for them to grow hair, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.
But if the hair follicle’s stem cells are softened, they are more likely to produce hair, the scientists found.
Northwestern scientists discovered how to soften up those stem cells to enable them to grow hair again.
In a study in mice published this week in PNAS, the investigators report that they can soften the stem cells by boosting the production of a tiny RNA, miR-205, that relaxes the hardness of the cells. When scientists genetically manipulated the stem cells to produce more miR-205, it promoted hair growth in young and old mice.
“Our study demonstrates the possibility of stimulating hair growth by regulating cell mechanics. Because of the potential to deliver microRNA by nanoparticles directly into the skin, next we will test whether topically delivered miR-205 can stimulate hair growth first in mice. If successful, we will design experiments to test whether this microRNA can promote hair growth potentially in humans.”
Jingjing Wang, Yuheng Fu, Wenmao Huang, Ritusree Biswas, Avinanda Banerjee, Joshua A. Broussard, Zhihai Zhao, Dongmei Wang, Glen Bjerke, Srikala Raghavan, Jie Yan, Kathleen J. Green, Rui Yi. MicroRNA-205 promotes hair regeneration by modulating mechanical properties of hair follicle stem cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2023; 120 (22) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2220635120
Northwestern University. (2023, June 5). Coaxing hair growth in aging hair follicle stem cells: Softening stiff hair follicle stem cells with a microRNA regrows hair. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 9, 2023 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/06/230605181227.htm
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