Everyone has that one friend who is going bald early, and is either trying their best to hide it or has said ‘fuck it’ and shaved the lot off in an act of defiance.
Well, it turns out that scientists have found a potential cure for baldness and your group of mates will have to find a new victim for overused, cliche jokes.
A cell called a T-cell, also known as a ‘Treg’, is an immune system cell which helps control inflammation, and it plays a very important role.
This cell has been isolated as pivotal in the growth of hair, which until now was thought to rely solely on stem cells.
Working on mice, University of California scientists discovered that the Tregs present in the skin send out signals to help follicles regenerate lost hair.
Dr Michael Rosenblum, the lead researcher on the project, said that this is a major step in research on baldness, reports The Telegraph.
Our hair follicles are constantly recycling: when a hair falls out, the whole hair follicle has to grow back. This has been thought to be an entirely stem cell-dependent process, but it turns out Tregs are essential. If you knock out this one immune cell type, hair just doesn’t grow.
While this is obviously pretty big news for the follically-challenged, it is a major breakthrough for those with alopecia – an autoimmune disease which results in patchy or complete baldness in various parts across the body.
This research further supports the growing idea that immune cells play a much bigger part in our bodies functions than originally thought.
Dr Rosenblum said:
We think of immune cells as coming into a tissue to fight infection, while stem cells are there to regenerate the tissue after it’s damaged. But what we found here is that stem cells and immune cells have to work together to make regeneration possible.
So, baldies rejoice! It seems soon you will have the luscious locks of Thor if you so desire.