Scientists have discovered the secret of hair growth. Have you ever thought about why hair grows on some parts of the body, but not on others?
A new study offers a possible explanation for this fact. Scientists have discovered that the skin on areas of the body that are not covered in hair secretes protein, which blocks the WNT signaling pathways that control hair growth.
Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania told that the protein was called Dickkopf 2 (DKK2), it is found in specific embryonic tissues and adult tissues and has a number of functions.
They found that the skin of the sole in mice is similar to the skin of the inside of the wrist in humans and has a high level of DKK2 protein. When researchers genetically removed this protein in mice, hair began to grow again on normally hairless skin.
“It matters, because now we know that WNT signaling pathways are present on hairless skin areas, they are simply blocked,” says co-author Sarah Millar, head of Penn Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-Based Center.
“We know that WNT signals are critical for the development of hair follicles, blocking them leads to skin baldness, and the inclusion of signals leads to more hair,” Millar said in a press release.
“In this study, we showed that the skin of the hairless areas of the body naturally produces an inhibitor that stops the WNT signaling pathways,” she added.
Hair follicles develop before birth. This means that they cannot reappear after serious burns and deep wounds. Scientists are now studying whether secreted WNT inhibitors suppress the development of hair follicles in such cases.
The American Academy of Dermatology reports that over 80 million people in the United States have male or female pattern baldness. In a previous study, it was believed that DKK2 protein may be associated with this condition, and therefore be a potential target of therapy.
“We hope that these discoveries will help find new ways to improve wound healing and hair growth. We plan to continue working in this direction to achieve these goals, ”Millar said.
The study was published November 28 in the journal Cell Reports.