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New study finds that stress hormones cause hair loss



Can reducing stress be the secret to hair growth?

A new study led by Seyku Choi from the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University suggests that this may be the case.

Generally speaking, a person has a three-stage hair growth cycle: growth, degeneration and rest. In the first stage, the hair is continuously pushed out of the shaft, while in the second stage, the hair stops growing and its lower part shrinks while staying in place. However, in the third stage, the hair eventually falls out.

Although it has been known for some time that stress is related to premature hair entering the third stage and falling out, as is the overall link between hair loss and chronic stress itself, the exact mechanism behind this link is still a mystery.

As we all know, hair follicle stem cells (HFSC) play a vital role in hair growth by interpreting internal and external signals. Knowing this, Cho and other researchers tested the effects of another part of the body, especially the adrenal glands that produce stress hormones during the cycle. For this, they surgically removed them from the mice.

Since there are no adrenal glands to produce stress hormones, the “rest”

; phase of the hair of mice is much shorter, while the growth of hair follicles is three times faster than normal. However, when fed with the hormone corticosterone (a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands of animals), their hair growth is inhibited.

So, does corticosterone play a role in hair loss? This is what it means. HFSC detects stress hormones by signals rather than by detecting the hormones themselves. This is determined by the researchers selectively deleting a protein called glucocorticoid receptor in the dermal papilla. These receptors are the way hormones send signals to HFSC.

But how does the dermal papilla transmit signals? According to research, this is done by another protein, growth arrest specific 6 (GAS6). Through this protein, the signal is transmitted to HFSC through the receptor of another protein, AXL.

These findings are published in academic journals natural, Fundamentally outline the process of stress affecting hair loss, and may pave the way to help treat stress-induced hair loss.
In addition, this discovery was also discovered after the COVID-19 pandemic. As the fight against the disease continues to intensify, the pandemic has put tremendous pressure on people around the world.

However, the study warns that multiple issues still need to be further explored. For example, corticosterone is not a human stress hormone, but is only considered a rodent equivalent to human cortisol. Therefore, it is not known whether the process is exactly the same. Second, human hair cycle phases have different durations, so it is not clear whether hormones affect it in the same way. Third, the GAS6 protein is not limited to this specific signal. In fact, researchers found that it is involved in the expression of several different genes related to HFSCs. Therefore, tampering may have other unforeseen effects. In particular, there are concerns that this may inadvertently lead to the growth of potentially mutated HFSC.

It should also be noted that there are different types of stress-related hair loss. According to the Mayo Clinic, one of them is telogen efffluvium, which causes the hair to go into a static state, leading to severe hair loss. However, the other two are different.

One of these is called Trichotillomania, which is a state of obsessive-compulsive disorder in which stress, depression and other negative emotions form an irresistible force to pull out the hair. It is literally defined as “pull out the hair”.

The third form is very different. This condition is called alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss due to the body’s own immune system attacking hair follicles. There are many reasons for this situation, among which high stress is one of them, although it is worth noting that this situation itself is also the cause of serious psychological stress.

Nonetheless, the findings in the study found valuable links between stress and hair loss, which could pave the way for future research to further explore these links.




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