An accidental discovery of a link between a chemical compound and hair regrowth in mice

A report published by the online publisher of peer-reviewed science, PLoS One, suggests the accidental discovery of a link between a chemical compound that can reverse and prevent alopecia in mice.

The team was investigating the effects of stress on gastrointestinal functions in mice, but have found that mice exposed to chronic stress and suffering from alopecia showed significant improvements when injected with astressin-B. It was found that a daily injection over a period of five days ‘induced pigmentation and hair re-growth that was largely retained for over 4 months.’ As mice generally live for less than two years, this represents relatively long-term hair growth.

Stress is recognised as a potential cause of hair-loss in humans, but the implications here in the case of the mice are that the compound astressin-B may block CRF (Corticotropin-releasing factor), which has been linked to hair growth inhibition in chronically stressed individuals. The report also suggests that the regular administration over a short period of time actually ‘revived the hair follicle’.

Whilst this accidental discovery has still only been observed in mice, it has been suggested that a similar approach to hair loss treatment could be tried on humans at some point in the future.

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