Researchers have identified the genetic basis of two related but clinically distinct forms of inherited hair loss, according to two studies published online in Nature Genetics. This discovery has the potential to lead to new treatments for hair loss and excessive hair.
Regina Betz and colleagues studied families in Saudi Arabia with hypotrichosis simplex, which causes progressive hair loss beginning in early childhood. They identified mutations in P2RY5, a gene encoding a receptor protein, and then went on to identify the molecule that activates the receptor as lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). LPA has been shown to promote hair growth in an animal model.
Angela Christiano and colleagues studied families in Pakistan with 'woolly hair', characterized by sparse, dry and tightly curled hair over the entire scalp region. They also identified mutations in P2RY5, and show that it is expressed in the inner root sheath of hair follicles, implying a role for it in anchoring and shaping the growing hair shaft.
Regina Betz (University of Bonn, Germany)
Angela Christiano (Columbia University, New York, NY, USA)
Abstracts available online:
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
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