Hair follicle bulge stem cells
Scientists have been researching hair follicles to try and understand
what causes hair loss. They have determined that the cause of
hair loss is determined by what are called the "stem cells".
These stem cells reside in the hair follicles in an area known
as "the bulge". Because these stem cells live in the
area known as the bulge, they are also commonly referred to as "bulge
In order to better understand the genetics behind "bulge
cells", scientists introduced something called "promoters" into
their research. The promoters were combined with the bulge cells
in order to create certain prevailing conditions. In fact, the
promoters were designed to isolate the bulge cells so that they
could be more easily analyzed by the scientists. Without their
being isolated, scientists couldn't even determine what the bulge
cells were. They also couldn't determine what kind of treatments
the bulge cells might respond to. Once the scientists had these
bulge cells in a position where they could view them and analyze
them, they were better able to consider whatever possible treatments
might be available.
The three promoters that were introduced into the bulge cells
for the purpose of isolating and analyzing them were Keratin 15
or "K15", Enhanced Green Florescent Protein or "EGFP" and
Cre Recombinase and Progersterone Receptor or "CrePR1".
These three promoters made it easier for scientists to separate
the specific bulge cells that they wanted to analyze and then
to consider further treatment for these cells. These three promoters
brought them to the first phase of the discovery for the treatment
of hair loss.
Through the use of the three different promoters, K15, EGFP and
CrePR1, it was discovered that bulge cells were actually made
up of all of the basic cell types in the internal membranous tissue
of the body. The same tissue that exists as a membrane around
your internal organs such as liver, pancreas, etc. also exists
in bulge cells at the base of your hair follicles! This was good
news for scientists because it meant that bulge cells could possibly
provide the necessary building blocks for healthier hair. If they
had not been producing the right kind of hair at a specific time,
at least they still had the potential to do so in the future.
All the scientists needed was to find out was how to make these
bulge cells reproduce the necessary cells for healthy hair. With
the bulge cells isolated and properly analyzed, they were ready
to try out a treatment.
Scientists went on to test a treatment on the isolated
bulge cells with something called "RU486". RU486, in
combination with the previously mentioned "promoters" brought
about a huge array of new discoveries. Scientists discovered a
list of gene types in the bulge cells that responded positively
to the RU486 drug. In fact, these gene types were responding so
positively, that scientists thought they might now be capable
of contributing to the actual regeneration of hair follicles themselves.
Scientists could now target these gene types and eventually see
further means for promoting more and more hair growth.
The list of gene types and the subsequent prospects
that they promised toward healthy hair growth were extremely numerous.
In fact, there were 157 genes that were shown to be present
stem cells and almost half of these seemed to respond quite
favorably to the RU486 treatment.
Of course, in terms of stem cell research, there
is still a considerable way to go before scientists can determine
that will be necessary for promoting this new genetic response
in stem cells. Still, one of the main hurdles has certainly
been overcome with the discovery of RU486 and its effects
cells. RU486, in combination with the three promoters, K15,
EGFP and CrePR1 have all brought about a great prospect for
of hair follicle treatment. At least in terms of a hopeful
tomorrow, genetic research is looking extremely bright.
Hair follicle bulge stem cells references
- Morris RJ, Liu Y, Marles L, Yang Z, Trempus
C, Li S, Lin JS, Sawicki JA, Cotsarelis G. Capturing and profiling
adult hair follicle stem cells. Nat Biotechnol. 2004 Apr;22(4):411-7.