Stimulation of Hair Growth by Small Molecules That Activate Autophagy

    June 2019 in “ Cell reports
    Min Chai, Meisheng Jiang, Laurent Vergnes, Xudong Fu, Stéphanie C. de Barros, Ngan Doan, Wilson Huang, Jessie Chu, Jing Jiao, Harvey R. Herschman, Gay M. Crooks, Karen Reue, Jing Huang
    TLDR Certain small molecules can promote hair growth by activating a cellular cleanup process called autophagy.
    The study from June 1, 2019, demonstrated that small molecules activating autophagy, such as α-KG, α-KB, rapamycin, and metformin, could stimulate hair growth by inducing the anagen phase in quiescent hair follicles. This effect was blocked by autophagy inhibitors, indicating a mechanistic link between autophagy and hair regeneration. Increased autophagy was observed during the anagen phase of the natural hair follicle cycle. In aged mice, oral α-KB prevented hair loss, suggesting potential therapeutic applications for hair loss patients. The findings highlighted the possibility of pharmacologically activating anagen in telogen skin, offering new avenues for treating hair loss.
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