Dihydrotestosterone-Inducible Dickkopf 1 from Balding Dermal Papilla Cells Causes Apoptosis in Follicular Keratinocytes

    Mi Hee Kwack, Young Kwan Sung, Eun Jee Chung, Sang Uk Im, Ji Seop Ahn, Moon Kyu Kim, Jung Chul Kim
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    TLDR A substance called DKK-1 increases in balding areas and causes hair cells to die when exposed to DHT.
    In the 2008 study, researchers discovered that dihydrotestosterone (DHT) causes an increase in dickkopf 1 (DKK-1) in dermal papilla cells from balding scalps, which in turn leads to apoptosis in follicular keratinocytes. They observed that DKK-1 mRNA levels rose within 3-6 hours of DHT treatment and that DKK-1 protein was secreted from these cells. The inhibition of outer root sheath keratinocyte growth by DHT was significantly reduced by a neutralizing antibody against DKK-1, and this antibody also reversed DHT-induced cell death in cultured hair follicles. Immunoblotting showed higher levels of DKK-1 in bald scalp compared to non-balding scalp in patients with androgenetic alopecia. These results suggest that DKK-1 is a significant factor in DHT-related hair loss, although the study did not mention the number of participants or samples, indicating a need for further research to confirm these findings.
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