In what may be the most crowning achievement for the practice of dermatology in recent years, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have finally unlocked the secret to male pattern baldness.
According to the study’s author Dr. George Costarelis, a protein called Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) is responsible for causing hair follicles to grow thinner and weaker as men age. He said that the study took samples from the balding scalps of men with male pattern baldness and tested them against samples from parts of the head that still grew hair. The researchers found three times the amount of PGD2 in the areas that were balding than in the areas that still grew strong hair follicles.
PGD2 was then tested on mice to see what effects it had on healthy scalps. The study found that PGD2 “really decreased the growth” in the tested mice. Finally, it was determined that the PGD2 protein inhibits hair growth as it binds to the GPR44 receptor. It is this receptor that is the target for future medications that will prevent PGD2 to bind and therefore allow hair to grow to its full strength. Costarelis believes that a topical treatment will be coming very soon.
Male pattern baldness effects 80 percent of men and is the most common form of hair loss.