It’s not called crowning glory for nothing. Lovely hair is truly an asset to flaunt. For those who are afflicted with hair loss problems, thinning and balding, there is good news. Ongoing research suggests that stem cells can be used to regenerate the growth of new follicles on the scalp.
Hair follicles are tiny tubular cavities made up of tissues. Each hair follicle undergoes a growth cycle. There is a resting phase, after which the growth phase begins. But, in most cases, the growth phase does not kick off, and follicles get destroyed. This is when thinning or balding begins.
Role of stem cells:
Research suggests that stem cells can now be used to stimulate the resting follicles to enter into the growth phase. A gene called Wnt has been discovered that has two basic functions:
- Helps in the healing of wounds
- Helps make new follicles.
Researchers experimented with the hair growth of mice. When a wound was created, the Wnt gene, sort of woke up, and signaled to the body’s stem cells to regenerate and repair. This resulted in producing hair follicles and new hair growth.
While this may be the tip of the iceberg, there are many questions that researchers are faced with. The ways in which large numbers of stem cells coordinate the cycle of hair growth over thousands of hair follicles is quite amazing. How do all of those hair follicle stem cells know when to grow hair, and how do they know what their “neighbor” hair follicles are doing?
While research is continual, there is hope that the answers will soon be a boon to all those suffering from premature balding and thinning.