Until recently, the cause of male and female pattern baldness was largely a mystery. Many researchers, dermatologists, doctors, and hair growth specialists would just chalk it up to hormonal imbalances, genetic predispositions, or an autoimmune disorder such as alopecia areata. While there’s substantial scientific evidence to support all of these explanations, new research has emerged with a different and totally unexpected possible indirect cause of hair loss: defective Tregs. This discovery could be the key to more plausible and effective baldness treatments for both men and women.
What Are Tregs?
The primary function of Tregs, also known as T cells, is to help the immune system identify and distinguish between harmful and normally functioning cells within the body. They typically reside in lymph nodes with other immune cells, but researchers have found that they can also exist in various tissues throughout the body and they perform specific tasks that pertain to each type of tissue. Tregs allow the immune system to effectively identify and attack antigens—harmful cells—and make sure each cell, tissue, and organ is functioning properly. Traditionally, it was thought that Tregs were mainly responsible for reducing and preventing cell inflammation and malfunction, but now there’s evidence that Tregs could play a much larger role in the hair growth and loss process.
The Role of Defective Tregs in Hair Loss
New research at the University of California San Francisco, conducted by Dr. Michael Rosenblum and his team, identified a different function performed by Tregs: they’re also responsible for triggering healthy hair follicles to regenerate hair during their natural lifecycle. Hair follicles naturally go through a regenerative (anagen) and resting (telogen) phase. During the resting phase, Dr. Rosenblum and his team of researchers noticed there were significantly fewer Tregs in circulation. In the active phase, however, the amount of Tregs present within the hair follicle is significantly higher. The researchers clipped hair from the backs of test mice in their lab and then removed the Tregs from the skin of some of the mice to see what the outcome would be. The mice without the Tregs were unable to re-grow the hair in the shaven areas, whereas the mice with Tregs that were still intact were able to re-grow the hair normally. Tregs don’t actively re-grow hair, but they do trigger healthy hair follicles to begin the regeneration process. Therefore, defective Tregs can lead to various autoimmune disorders such as alopecia areata that cause the immune system to mistake healthy cells in the body and actively destroy them. In many cases, this can lead to male and female pattern baldness, but thankfully, there are plenty of treatment options available to counteract it. Incidentally, defective Tregs are also the reason that many people seem to inexplicably develop allergies throughout their lives.
Are Treg Defects Responsible for Male and Female Pattern Baldness?
Not all forms of male and female pattern baldness can be necessarily attributed to defective Tregs. This aforementioned research is still too new to formulate a concrete answer for each individual case and further investigation and testing is required. However, there is clearly a possible correlation between defective Tregs and hair loss as well as functioning Tregs that promote healthy hair growth.
Hair Loss Treatment in Toronto
For over 30 years, The Canadian Institute of Hair and Scalp Specialists has been providing exceptional hair loss treatment including alopecia areata treatment to Toronto residents as well as people from all over the world. To learn more about our customized treatment options for your condition and to book a free consultation, please call us at (905) 272-0190 or toll-free at 1-800-563-3836.