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Inflammatory Mediator HMGB1 Found to Promote Hair Growth


Given the many, complex genetics and external factors involved in hair loss, researchers are always on the look out for new ways to approach the problem.

By identifying new targets, innovative approaches can be developed, which may, in turn, lead to novel treatment solutions being established, as has been the case with JAK inhibitors.

HMBG1 protein

An article published in the Nature Journal Scientific Reports on 30th April 2019 points to an inflammatory mediator – the high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) protein – as a potential hair growth influencer, worthy of further exploration.

Trauma-induced hair growth

The starting point for a team of researchers from the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology Research Institute at Yonsei University College of Medicine, and the New Hair Institute, both based in Seoul, Korea, was the unexpected hair growth which can occur following a tissue injury.

Although the reason for this spontaneous hair growth is unknown, the team believed it was “likely related to inflammatory mediators”, specifically, HMBG1.

They describe HMBG1 as “a ubiquitous nuclear protein that is released from cell nuclei after tissue damage”, and carried out a number of experiments in order to establish its effects on hair shaft elongation (hair growth) and on mRNA and protein expression in cultured human dermal papilla cells (hDPCs).

The results showed that HMBG1 did indeed promote hair growth in an ex vivo hair organ culture, as well as producing “significantly increased” mRNA and protein expression levels of prostagladin E synthases.

Additionally, HMGB1 was found to both stimulate secretion of the
inflammation supressant prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) from hDPCs and block a canonical HMBG1 receptor.

What this essentially means is that HMBG1 can actively promote hair growth via PGE2 secretions from hDPCs.

“This mechanism can explain the paradoxical phenomenon of trauma-induced hair growth. Thus, HGMB1 can be a viable therapeutic target for the treatment of alopecia,” concludes the Korean research team.

Treating different types of hair loss

One key piece of information missing from this new research is the hair loss condition HGMB1 may potentially be developed into a treatment for. As the report simply uses the catch-all medical term for any kind of hairloss – ‘alopecia’ – it may be that this is still to be determined.

hair loss treatments and hair growth supporting products for men and women

Currently there are MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved hair loss treatments available for Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss, as well as FDA-cleared hair growth devices which can be used alone or alongside these authorised medications.

One of these two drugs – high strength minoxidil, a topical vasodilator which is used to promote hair growth – has also been shown to have additional applications outside genetic hair loss, having produced significant regrowth results in cases of Alopecia Areata, Traction Alopecia and various temporary hair loss conditions, such as Telogen Effluvium.

Anyone worried they are losing more hair than normal, or experiencing sudden shedding, should consult a specialist as soon as possible in order to receive a professional diagnosis of the issue alongside personalised treatment recommendations, including non-pharmaceutical hair growth supporting products that may be beneficial, based on the findings of a dedicated hair loss specialist.

The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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