News Flash > Women's Health


Good News for Those with Thinning Hair

Reported April 20, 2010

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- New research identifies a small cellular channel that regulates skin and hair growth and could be targeted with small-molecule drugs. These drugs would have the potential to treat a variety of skin conditions, thinning hair or unwanted hair growth.

The key factors that regulate the growth and specialization of skin cells are transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha) and the receptor for epidermal growth factor (EGFR). However, experts say these don't make ideal targets for a drug treatment because they are found throughout the body and any drug targeting them would have serious side effects.

Another protein found mainly in skin, TRPV3, supercharges the TGF-alpha/EGFR pathway. In trials with mice, when TRPV3 was knocked out, the mice had a thinner outer skin layer with a dry, scaly texture, and appeared to be a less intact, more permeable barrier. Normal mice formed a thick, robust outer skin barrier with more tightly linked, toughened cells



Researchers believe drugs that stimulate TRPV3 activity may offer a new approach to treating multiple skin conditions such as burns, bed sores, eczema, psoriasis, itch, fungal infections and oral mucositis. It could also be used to develop cosmetic treatments that make the skin more firm and youthful. Another possibility is TRPV3 would be targeted to create hair growth or hair removal agents.

Scientists caution that trials are still in the early stages and reducing TRPV3 activity could curb uncontrolled cell growth in skin cancer. Some skin cancers could actually be worsened by TRPV3.

Source: Cell, April 16, 2010