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Protein signals stem cells to grow hair

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    Protein signals stem cells to grow hair

    Protein signals stem cells to grow hair
    Study finds molecule triggers hair growth in mouse embryos (8/6/2008)
    stem cells, hair

    Comb-overs might not be the only solution for those who are losing their hair. A molecule that prompts hair follicle development in utero might one day be used to treat hair loss or combat excess hair growth.

    Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine used genetically engineered mouse embryos to demonstrate that the molecule, called laminin-511, signals embryonic stem cells in the skin to start growing hair. The signal may also prompt development of other organs, such as kidneys and limbs.

    "Now we have a signal protein that can support the microenvironment for hair development, and maybe also for hair renewal," said Jing Gao, MD, a postdoctoral scholar in epithelial biology. Gao is the lead author of a paper describing the finding published in the Aug. 1 issue of Genes & Development.


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