Baldness and other hair problems are global concerns nowadays, and it profounds the need for research. Although some are due to genetics, the other aspects of the cause remain unclear. For instance, the hair grows from the hair follicles where the active stem cells proliferate. The molecular underpinning is quite indeed necessary to figure it out the mechanism.
Researchers from Tokyo have found a novel way of mechanism in determining the capability of the hair follicle. The hair follicle stem cells (HFSCs) are responsible for the growth of the hair. They do this by causing both symmetric and asymmetric cell divisions. Symmetric cell division will produce two identical cells, and it further follows the same process as before. Interestingly, asymmetric cell division produces one differentiating cell and a self-renewing stem cell. Nonetheless, it is not either one, it’s the combination that helps to maintain the population of these stem cells. Also, it holds good for every other organ too.
Scientists focused on the cell division pattern of HFSCs of young and adult mice. They used cell division axis analyses to measure the angle, and cell fate tracing by using a fluorescent marker. Surprisingly they identified that during aging the HFSCs develop an atypical senescent type of asymmetrical cell division. But in young mice, both divisions occur normally.
During aging, a class of protein called hemidesmosomes and other cell polarity proteins get destabilized, thereby leading to a change in the differentiating pattern of HFSCs. These proteins assist the cell in knowing its location, and they also transfer nutrients. Due to the alteration of all these, the stem cells depletes and leads to hair thinning. We hope that we will have novel approaches in the future to tackle all those sturdy obstacles.
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