- Regrowing hair follicles might lie in a chemical used to cook McDonald’s fries, a team of Japanese scientists suggests.
- Researchers at Yokohama National University used dimethylpolysiloxane to produce follicles that could grow hair when transplanted into mice.
- The chemical was used as a base to grow the follicles – it doesn’t trigger hair growth on its own.
Scientists in Japan say that the ability to regrow hair might be found in using a chemical also used to cook McDonald’s fries.
Researchers at Yokohama National University found that when they used the chemical dimethylpolysiloxane – found in silicone, which is added to oil to cook french fries at the fast-food restaurant, according to the Evening Standard – they could mass produce hair follicles that could grow hair when transplanted into mice.
Initial tests suggest this method could also be used to eventually treat hair loss in humans, they say.
In a paper published in the journal Biomaterials, the scientists said they were able to generate up to 5,000 hair follicle germs simultaneously – something described in a press release as “one of the more challenging obstacles to hair regenerative medicine.”
Mice that had these follicles transplanted onto their backs and scalps started to sprout new black hairs in these areas, the researchers said.
And according to Junji Fukuda, a professor at the university who helped write the study, the use of the chemical was crucial to successfully producing the hair follicle germs.
“The key for the mass production of HFGs was a choice of substrate materials for culture vessel,” Fukuda said in the press release. “We used oxygen-permeable dimethylpolysiloxane at the bottom of culture vessel, and it worked very well.”
While the chemical was apparently helpful for the experiment, it does not on its own trigger hair growth. So eating more McDonald’s fries is unlikely to cause your hair to grow.
Fukuda’s team is hopeful that this method can eventually be used to treat hair loss in humans.
“This simple method is very robust and promising,” Fukuda said. “We hope that this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia.”
Fukuda added: “In fact, we have preliminary data that suggests human HFG formation using human keratinocytes and dermal papilla cells.”