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New mechanism underlying baldness and thinning of hair discovered


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Scientists identified a new mechanism that causes hair follicle stem cells to lose their ability to regenerate.

“For proper tissue function, symmetric and asymmetric cell divisions have to be in balance,” - Emi Nishimura, corresponding author.

Scientists monitored hair follicle stem cells in both young and old mice.

Young mice exhibited normal, healthy symmetric and asymmetric divisions.

A strange, atypical type of cell division began to emerge in the older mice.

Investigated the role of a class of proteins called hemidesmosomes.

In the aging mice, these proteins became increasingly destabilized.

Hair follicle stem cells became exhausted as they aged, leading them to be cleared away from the body.

This led to the thinning and loss of the hair follicles over time.

"Our results may contribute to new approaches to regulate organ aging and aging-associated diseases,” - Hiroyuki Matsumura, first author.

Research by Tokyo Medical and Dental University and University of Tokyo published in Nature Aging.

Balance in cell divisions control regenerative capabilities of hair follicle stem cells

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Professor at Tokyo Medical and Dental University


Assistant professor at Tokyo Medical and Dental University


Journal spanning the entire spectrum of research into aging


Public research university.