Luscious Locks

What’s the secret to luscious locks?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Hair loss happens naturally! But can it be stopped? Or, what makes hair GROW so we can keep our heads full of it?

Yingzi Liu and scientists from around the world collaborated to find out. They investigated the complete collection of genetic information known as the human genome.

Using computer analysis, the researchers identified which genes are turned on when hair grows. One gene, Scube3, was active ONLY during the hair growth phase. To test its importance in hair growth, researchers turned to hairless mice! SCUBE3 protein was injected into the skin of old hairless mice, and VOILA! FURRY mice!

Scube3 is a messenger, telling nearby hair cells to make some hair! Though treatments like Rogaine exist, it’s only used for the head. Scientists believe Scube3 will be important in developing treatments that target other body parts.

Long hair…don’t care! Zoinks Scube! Now you’re looking SHAGGY!

Reference: Liu, Y., Guerrero-Juarez, C. F., Xiao, F., Shettigar, N. U., Ramos, R., Kuan, C. H., … & Plikus, M. V. (2022). Hedgehog signaling reprograms hair follicle niche fibroblasts to a hyper-activated state. Developmental Cell.