Spanish scientists have pinpointed how skin cells communicate to activate hair growth.
They found immune cells induce hair growth by surrounding and activating stem cells in the skin.
And the discovery could also influence technologies with potential applications in tissue regeneration, ageing and cancer.
“We have discovered that macrophages, cells whose main function is traditionally attributed to fight infections and wound repair, are also involved in the activation of hair follicle stem cells in non-inflamed skin,” says Mirna Perez-Moreno of the Epithelial Cell Biology Group of the BBVA Foundation-CNIO Cancer Cell Biology Program.
The new hair regrowth discovery was accidental. Perez-Moreno was working on another project when mice started to regrow hair when they were given anti-inflammatory drugs.
Although this study was carried out in mice, the researchers believe their discovery “may facilitate the development of novel treatment strategies” for hair growth in humans.
The study is published in the journal PLOS Biology.
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