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Science

Hair Growth Signal Dictated By Fat Cells 146

Posted by Soulskill
from the let-it-shine-let-it-shine dept.
RogerRoast writes "According to an article published in the journal Cell, molecular signals from fat cell (adipocyte) precursors under the skin are necessary to spur hair growth in mice. Yale researchers report in the paper that these cells produce molecules called PDGF (platelet derived growth factors), which are necessary to produce hair growth. The discovery of the source of signals that trigger hair growth may lead to new treatments for baldness. The trick is in getting adipocyte precursors under the skin to talk to stem cells at the base of the hair follicles."
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Hair Growth Signal Dictated By Fat Cells

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  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @05:24AM (#37313898)

    The trick is in getting adipocyte precursors under the skin to talk to stem cells at the base of the hair follicles.

    So why not skip all the steps in between, and just sew together toupees of peeled mice?

    . . . um . . . warning sticker . . . "Stay away from cats, when in use."

    • Because then the mice would be bald and we'd have to develop a drug for them...come on, think!
  • IN MICE (Score:5, Informative)

    by snowgirl (978879) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @05:28AM (#37313906) Journal

    This finding has been made IN MICE. Now, I'm not usually one to suggest that just because an effect is demonstrated in a lab animal that it won't apply to humans, but hey, saccharine only caused bladder cancer in lab rats because they have a different urinary tract, and they were retaining it in a way that would never happen in humans.

    Now, the disclaimer being made, women have a larger dispersion of fat about the whole body, and while they have more vellus hair then men, vellus hair is hardly noticeable, and in fact, "balding" is typically a result of the hair on one's head turning into vellus hair. So, making humans grow more vellus hair isn't really going to solve anything.

    • by dintech (998802)

      I know, from the summary title I was hoping for a link between being fat and being bald, since often we men exhibit both characteristics. Disappointments all round. I can take down that banner welcoming our fat, bald, vellus enveloped overlords.

      • by snowgirl (978879)

        I know, from the summary title I was hoping for a link between being fat and being bald, since often we men exhibit both characteristics. Disappointments all round. I can take down that banner welcoming our fat, bald, vellus enveloped overlords.

        Well, there's no reason to doubt that fatty tissue could lead to more vellus hair. In fact, since women typically have more of both, it might actually be related in humans. I suppose, the point I was trying to make was that when we think of "hair", we think there is only one kind... silly us, there's actually three kinds. (vellus hair, and two types of terminal hair: on the head, and "axillary hair", which is vellus hair that turns to terminal hair under exposure to testosterone.)

        So, it's entirely possible

        • . silly us, there's actually three kinds. (vellus hair, and two types of terminal hair: on the head, and "axillary hair", which is vellus hair that turns to terminal hair under exposure to testosterone.)

          Interesting... so which type is the hair that women have under their armpits and around their pussy? Obviously not vellus (it's to thick for that), not head hair (it's preferred by pubic lice rather than by head lice), and not "axillary hair" (where would the needed testosterone come from?)

          • by FalcDot (1224920)

            Women have testosterone, just not as much as men.

          • by snowgirl (978879)

            . silly us, there's actually three kinds. (vellus hair, and two types of terminal hair: on the head, and "axillary hair", which is vellus hair that turns to terminal hair under exposure to testosterone.)

            Interesting... so which type is the hair that women have under their armpits and around their pussy? Obviously not vellus (it's to thick for that), not head hair (it's preferred by pubic lice rather than by head lice), and not "axillary hair" (where would the needed testosterone come from?)

            As someone else already noted, it is axillary hair. Women have some testosterone in their systems, but not enough to usually activate axillary hair beyond the pubic area, and armpits. However, since each "axillary hair patch" has a different level of response to testosterone, pubic hair being highly sensitive, and chest hair being quite low sensitivity, women tend to get pubic hair, but not chest hair.

            Women with CAIS (Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome... and no, there are no men with CAIS) actually h

      • I was hoping for a link between being fat and being bald

        There is a link. Hint: very few men wear their fat on the top of their head...

    • by AbRASiON (589899) *

      You just ruined the days of hundreds of slashdot readers, thanks for the FACTS pal!
      Someone mod this guy +5 dream shattering.

    • by roman_mir (125474)

      Yeah, but the upside is huge. Imagine all those mice with all those neat hair styles? It would be a blast.

    • You're not bald right? So shut the fuck up and allow the rest of us to dream.

      I can just imagine you sitting there with your ridiculously thick mop of lush hair and pompously stomping on our hopes.

    • i wouldn't, for example, use mice as a valid model for say, genes having to do with brain structure in human beings. homo sapiens have made some changes in that department as compared to our mammalian cousins or even our simian cousins

      but, evolutionarily speaking, we are so close to mice that a cell signalling pathway as basic as this one is most likely shared between mice and men

      even if the signalling system were dormant in humans, we most likely still have the genes for it, and it could be revived in huma

      • by snowgirl (978879)

        You're of course right, and my first paragraph was intended to be a disclaim of "I'm not saying that nothing in lab animals is applicable to humans", but rather, I wanted to point out that "hair" isn't just one thing in humans. There are two types of hair, vellus hair, and terminal hair, and it's entirely possible that this process would only activate vellus hair growth (being that women have more fat on average, and more vellus hair, this seems like a possibility).

        My objection was that while this could be

    • On that note, cancer has been cured a thousand times in mice. Still no cure for human cancer though. If scientists were allowed to act like Nazis and experiment on humans without regard to ethical concerns, we'd of course have cures for nearly every disease imaginable. Then again it's nice not to be Nazis. But in this one case, maybe they could speed-track human trials and experiments for baldness...? Pretty please...?
    • Now, I'm not usually one to suggest that just because an effect is demonstrated in a lab animal that it won't apply to humans

      Haven't you read Of Mice and Men?

  • Off of vain people although I find that being bald is not only cheaper but neater. Now if they can only find a way to get reverse the hair growth on my back.
  • I could have told you that.
  • I am a fat man that is apparently repugnant to women. Despite this, many different women have commented on the quality of my shoulder-length hair.
    Am I blessed with great hair because I am a fat little man?
    I imagine that on Slashdot I can't be the only fat man with great hair who can't get a date...
    • I am a fat man that is apparently repugnant to women.

      :-)

      Despite this, many different women have commented on the quality of my shoulder-length hair.

      And how is your chest (and back...) hair?

      I imagine that on Slashdot I can't be the only fat man with great hair who can't get a date...

      Maybe you are too restrictive in your choice of partners?

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      You cant get a date because you are too "picky" of what you call acceptable. I know a lot of fat geeks that will "only date a hottie".. Yet they also refuse to get any social skills or even bathe weekly let alone the normal bathing cycle. oh and washed clothes, teeth brushing, etc.....

      Guess what, you are not gonna get a hottie. So either start looking at realistic pool of women to target or give up. Honestly, 99% of the time it's not just "looks" that is the repulsion. it's personality, interaction an

      • A while back (1980s) my company used to do business with a very rich guy who was short, fat, ugly, with an obnoxious personality and a comb-over. Unlike many like him, he was aware of all of the above. He also had a Ferrari Testarossa, primarily because money + Ferrari was an effective antidote to the rest of his 'features'. It worked. Of course, a typical date cost him $1000s.

        • Meh, he should just get hookers and cut out the red Italian middleman, and save some cash on his dates. I don't see how it could be any worse for his self-confidence than knowing he's just attracting gold-diggers with his wealth.

          • For him and his situation, I think the distinguishing between hookers and gold-diggers was a very thin one (if there was one at all). He knew it wasn't about the relationship - it was a transaction. He got eye-candy, probably got laid, she got fun and 'gifts'.

  • It's not the rule, of course. There are fat men who are bold. But, from what I see, the majority of bald men have little fat on their bodies; they are usually slim.

    • But with science we can force them to be meek and timid so they keep in their place.
    • by PPH (736903)

      There are several things working against each other. Fat leads to lower testosterone, which leads to more (head) hair. OTOH, higher testosterone results in more body hair. Lower testosterone (particularly in puberty) allows for the growth of longer bones and a taller individual, which look less fat by comparison. There have been some interesting studies done comparing twins where one suffered from an endocrinological condition (back in the old days) was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castrato [slashdot.org]">castrated. O

  • I always hear "may not work on humans." Sounds to me like scientists pretty much cured rodents of all possible disease. Even cancer, now baldness, is no longer a problem for mice.

    • by p0p0 (1841106)
      They probably planned it that way. They are the most intelligent life form on this planet. Really, who's the one being experimented on?
  • There is no long term money to be made in curing baldness. The target has always been long term treatment.

    • But that's true of every disease or genetic annoyance. Why invent a cure when you can invent a treatment? The only cures include heinously expensive surgery and artificial device implantation with potential lifelong anti-rejection treatments.

      OTOH if there were cures available countries like Sweden with full healthcare coverage would have them, so it's unlikely that they exist but are being suppressed.

  • by cyberchondriac (456626) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @10:59AM (#37316064) Journal
    for me.
    I gave up last year, and just shaved my whole head. Done. I hate that look like you're wearing a public toilet seat on your head, AKA the horseshoe. Now, I'd prefer a full head of hair (I love hair) but since I was losing it on top, I decided to get rid of it all - all or nothing. I wish I could've done that 20 years ago, but back then, a fully shaved head was still considered a bit freakish, ala "Mr. Clean". Nowadays it's pretty normal, and that practice is probably here to stay.
    I've wondered if alopecia isn't a continuation of human evolution; we've shed most of our body hair, but why would we keep so much on our heads? Maybe it's the last bit to go?
  • "Some had high hopes the genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution, but sadly the greatest minds and resources where focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections."

  • by rinoid (451982)

    I'm a bald.

    And I don't give a flying shit about hair restoration.

  • So I have long thick beautiful hair because I'm a fat head?

    Okay, cool. I still lose more hair in 1 washing then most of you guys have on your head.

    So you can call me fat head, or fatty head, and i'll just keep calling you 8-ball, dick head, and of course, baldy.

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