X factor in hair loss
Ever wondered whether or not you’ll go bald later in
life? Find a photo – of your maternal grandfather! A new
study by German scientists suggests that a mother’s X-chromosome
deserves most of the blame for a son’s receding hairline.
We have long suspected that baldness was hereditary, but until
now no specific genetic culprit had been identified. Axel Hillmer,
a researcher with the Life & Brain Center team that conducted
the study, explained two indicators that implicate the X-chromosome.
Androgen receptors, which are produced by a gene on the X-chromosome,
were found in affected men either in higher concentrations or
in a more stable genetic variant that resisted breakdown. In
both situations, the heightened effect of the androgen receptors
resulted in hair loss.
The study, led by Professor Nöthen, the Alfried Krupp
von Bohlen und Halbach Chair of Genetic Medicine at Bonn University
and Dr. Roland Kruse of the Skin Clinic at Düsseldorf University
Clinic, examined blood samples from affected men and their family
The American Journal of Human Genetics will publish the findings
of this study in their July 2005 edition. Reluctant to lay all
the responsibility for hair loss on one gene, however, scientists
continue to study patterns of hereditary baldness. Some evidence
indicates that other genes might enable the passing of the hair
loss characteristic from parent to offspring irrespective of
the sex of the parent carrying the gene.
The research team is seeking more volunteers in order to reconfirm
and enhance their findings. If you are 40 years of age with
a severe hair loss problem and some free time, a trip to Germany
might be in order – Dr. Kruse and his team will pay you
and your family members for blood samples to help root out the
cause of baldness!