Research has turned up yet another gene that had been identified as playing a crucial role in hair loss.

 

Hypertrichosis Simplex

At the unfortunate end of the spectrum of alopecia conditions is a particularly cruel version. Hypotrichosis simplex is a rare genetic condition that affects young children. Born with a normal amount, children with the condition will begin losing hair at a young age… that loss is permanent and progressive. It is hard to imagine explaining that to a young child.

Research had already proven that the condition was genetic and had identified a handful of genes that might be responsible. One of them, APCDD1, was found to interfere with signaling pathways that affect cell function and regeneration. But now a team in Germany have spotted another gene that has a direct impact on hypertrichosis.

New Hair Loss Gene Identified

A team led by Professor Regina C. Betz at the University of Bonn in Germany, have been working on improving our understanding of hypertrichosis. They studied the genetic information of three families who were completely unrelated, of whom eight experienced hair loss. Professor Betz’s team found that all eight shared mutations in a gene which encodes a specialized enzyme called lanosterol-synthase… or LSS as it is known. LSS, in turn, plays a key role in the metabolism of cholesterol.

That’s right, cholesterol. Not the cholesterol that can block the arteries though. Cholesterol does perform other jobs in the body, among them, the team discovered, is an effect on the metabolic pathways that control the health of hair follicles. This understanding was achieved by studying tissue samples (brave volunteers!) – they actually discovered that with the mutated gene a vital enzyme was to be found beyond its normal location inside the cells of the follicle.

Hair Loss For Women

This is undoubtedly a remarkable piece of research that deepens our understanding of a miserable condition. Going the extra mile with the tissue sample study, thus proving the value of their original work on spotting the mutation in the LSS, was inspired. Not to mention, really smart twenty first century science that should give us all encouragement that, for our children at least, some or more of these conditions will be easily treatable. The first step on that path is always a complete understanding of the processes involved, it would seem that for hypertrichosis simplex this has been reached.

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