Stress-blocking drug restores hair in bald mice

Reuters, Monday 21 Feb 2011

US researchers studying the effects of stress on the gut may have stumbled on a chemical compound that stimulates hair growth.

US researchers studying the effects of stress on the digestive system may have stumbled on a chemical compound that stimulates hair growth.

By blocking a stress-related hormone linked with hair loss, mutant mice that made too much of the hormone were able to re-grow hair they had lost, the team reported on Wednesday in the online journal, Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.

The team injected these mice with a stress-blocking chemical compound called astressin-B, which blocks the action of the stress hormone CRF.

The mutant mice got a daily injection of the compound over 5 days, then the team measured the effects of this drug on their colons.

3 months later, their hair had all grown back. They were not distinguishable from their littermates, who were not genetically-altered.

So far, astressin-B has only been tested in genetically-altered mice to express a lot of stress hormone, and it is not clear if it would have any effect on humans.

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