Compound Leads to Hair-Growth in Mice

Newswise — SAN RAFAEL, CA -- February 18th -- The National Alopecia Areata Foundation is optimistic about a possible breakthrough by scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles and the Veterans Administration. The scientists initially were studying a chemical compound that blocks the effects of stress on the gut. They used genetically altered mice which typically develop head-to-tail baldness because of overproducing a stress hormone. The surprise came when three months after treating the mice with the compound, the formerly bald mice were full of hair on their heads and bodies. Another positive angle is that the hair stayed after only one series of treatments.

The National Alopecia Areata Foundation feels this study is interesting. The key to how to build on this research is to make the correct diagnosis of what alopecia the mouse model has. The relevance of this model to alopecia areata is unclear and will take further study to see if this will have a meaning for future alopecia areata treatments.

When you genetically engineer a mouse and get alopecia you usually get a very specific defect. When you modulate that defect with a compound directed at the defect you correct the problem caused by that specific defect. So this sounds exciting for that specific cause and form of alopecia. Another interesting concept is that the agent that blocks stress in the GI tract could affect nerves in skin and potentially induce recycling of the follicle. NAAF looks forward to future studies related to these findings.

The National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF), headquartered in San Rafael, CA, supports research to find a cure or acceptable treatment for alopecia areata, supports those with the disease, and educates the public about alopecia areata. NAAF is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and has a prestigious Scientific Advisory Council. Founded in 1981, NAAF is widely regarded as the largest, most influential and most representative foundation associated with alopecia areata.

To learn more about alopecia areata, or to schedule an interview with a NAAF researcher, please contact the National Alopecia Areata Foundation office at (415) 472-3780 in San Rafael, CA or visit the NAAF website at

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