In 2015, Northwestern University in the USA announced it would be conducting a clinical trial to establish PAI-1 levels in people with non-scarring forms of hair loss.
Now, after a lengthy delay, trial registration information for this research states that enrolment began on 27th November 2019.
Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) is a protein which plays an important role in preventing blood clotting.
It is produced by the cells lining the blood vessels and can also be secreted by adipose (body fat) tissue.
At elevated levels, PAI-1 has been associated with various illnesses and conditions, from haemorrhaging and certain types of cancer to obesity and thrombosis.
The stated aim and methodology of the clinical trial, is given as follows: "This study will investigate whether subjects who suffer from hair loss have increased levels of PAI-1 compared to age-matched control subjects...
Tissue PAI-1 expression levels will be determined by immunohistochemistry, a three-layer biotin-strepavidin system. Positive PAI-1 expression per total tissue area will be quantified using the color-picker function in imaging software.The PAI-1 expression found in normal scalps will be compared to those found in scalps with hair loss."
Presumably, making a connection between raised PAI-1 levels and hair loss would provide a new avenue for researchers investigating the biology of certain forms of alopecia. This may also then give scientists another angle to explore when developing future hair loss treatments.
The 55 participants are all aged between 18 and 60 years of age and have been diagnosed with one of three separate hair loss conditions.
These are Androgenetic Alopecia (better known as Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss), temporary shedding from Telogen Effluvium or patchy hair fall caused by the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata.
None of the volunteers have had hair transplant surgery, nor do they have any inflammatory scalp conditions, such as psoriasis, or scarring hair loss (cicatricial alopecia).
Those recruited have never used topical hair loss solutions, such as high strength minoxidil, to help encourage hair regrowth. Minoxidil is the only topical, unisex hair loss medication that is MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved for the treatment of genetic hair loss; although not licensed for use on other hair loss conditions, its benefits in certain cases are widely acknowledged.
Each of these participants will undergo a scalp biopsy and be matched with a healthy volunteer of the same age, who has no history of hairloss, to act as a control.
We look forward to seeing the findings of this novel exploration, which are estimated to be completed in June 2020, and will update this Belgravia hair loss blog when updates become available.
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