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Vitamin-Boosted Stem Cells Reveal Potential to Cure Baldness

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 06 Aug 2012
A team of Japanese researchers has discovered that VD3, an extremely active form of vitamin D, boosts stem cells to enhance and maintain their ability to trigger hair growth. This new study builds upon earlier research that has demonstrated how dermal papilla cells (DPCs) can stimulate epithelial stem cells to become hair.

“We had already discovered how VD3 increases the transforming growth factor TGF-ß2 and alkali-phosphatase activity--two essential features of hair-inducing DPCs. This time we focused on VD3’s therapeutic potency and values for hair regeneration,” said Kotaro Yoshimura, MD. “The results suggest that it may be useful in expanding human DPCs with good quality, and help establish a DPC transplantation therapy for growing hair.”

Dr. Yoshimura and Noriyuki Aoi, MD, from the University of Tokyo (UT) School of Medicine (Japan), led the study with investigators from Osaka University (Japan), and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (Saitama, Japan) in the study. After assessing how VD3 affected another crucial element for hair growth called Wnt10b gene expression, they gathered DPCs from volunteers who had undergone facelifts, incubated the DPCs with VD3 and then grafted them onto hairless skin samples gathered from rats.

“We found that treating the dermal papilla cells with VD3 significantly enhanced the growth of new hair over that of the control group,” Dr. Aoi said. “We also observed a better rate of maturation of the follicles. In other words, the hair grew thicker and lasted longer.”

“This study may contribute to the development of a cell-based therapy for hair regeneration,” said Anthony Atala, MD, editor of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (Winston-Salem, NC, USA). “The research team shows the potential impact of vitamin D to boost the capacity of certain cells in the skin to form hair.”

The study’s findings were reported July 2012 in the journal STEM CELLS Translational Medicine.

Related Links:

University of Tokyo School of Medicine
Osaka University
Japan Science and Technology Agency



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