Sunday , August 1 2021

Stress hormone was found to cause hair loss, a new study finds

Can stress reduction be the secret to hair growth?

According to a new study led by Seyku Cho, Department of Stem Cells and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University, that can only be the case.

In general, a person has three stages of the hair growth cycle: growth, degeneration, and rest. In the first stage, the hair is a continuously pushed stem, while the hair stops growing and its lower part shrinks while remaining in place in the second stage. In the third stage, however, the hair eventually falls out.

Although it has been known for some time that stress is associated with the premature transition of hair to the third stage and hair loss, as well as the general association with hair loss and chronic stress itself, the exact mechanism behind this link had remained a mystery.

It is known that hair follicle stem cells (HFSC) play an important role in hair growth by interpreting internal and external signals. Knowing this, Cho and other researchers tested the role of another area of ​​the body, specifically the stress hormone-producing adrenal gland, in the cycle. To this end, they removed them from the mice by surgery.

Without the adrenal glands to produce stress hormones, the “rest” phase of the mice ‘s hair cycles was much shorter, while their hair follicles grew about three times more than normal. But when the hormone corticosterone, a stress hormone produced by the animal’s adrenal glands, was fed, their hair growth was inhibited.

So does corticosterone play a role in hair loss? That is what this means. HFSCs detect stress hormone signals and not the hormone itself. This was determined when the researchers selectively removed a protein known as glucocorticoid receptors from the dermal papillae. These receptors are the means by which the hormone signals HFSCs.

But how do skin papillae transmit a signal? According to the study, this occurs through another protein, growth arrest-specific 6 (GAS6). Through this protein, the signal is transmitted to HFSC via another protein, the receptor AXL.

These findings were published in an academic journal Nature, basically charts the process by which stress affects hair loss, and could pave the way for the treatment of stress-induced hair loss.
In addition, the findings also come after the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused considerable stress to the world’s population in the fight against the enraged disease.

However, the study warns that several issues still need to be explored. For example, corticosterone is not a human stress hormone, but is only considered a rodent equivalent to human cortisol. As such, it is not known whether the process is exactly the same. Second, the stages of the hair cycle have different durations among people, so it is unclear whether hormones affect it in the same way. Third, the GAS6 protein is not limited to this particular signal. In fact, researchers found it involved in the expression of several different genes associated with HFSCs. As such, modifying it can have other unexpected effects. In particular, it is feared that this may inadvertently lead to an increase in potentially mutational HFSCs.

It should also be noted that stress is associated with different types of hair loss. According to the Mayo Clinic, one of these is telogenic effluvium, which pushes the hair into a resting phase, leading to significant hair loss. However, the other two are different.

One of them, known as Trichotillomania, is a condition in which stress, frustration, and other negative emotions form an irresistible compulsion to pull one’s hair out, the literal definition of “hair pulling out”.

The third form is much different. The condition known as Alopecia areatana is an autoimmune disease and sees hair loss due to the body’s own immune system attacking the hair follicles. There are several possible causes for this condition, one of which is high stress, although the condition in particular is also known to cause significant psychological stress.

However, the results of the study have found valuable links to stress and hair loss, and this may pave the way for future studies where these links can be further explored.

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