This treatment is plucking hairs in a specific pattern and density.
This approach is based on the principle called quorum sensing. The principle is how the system responds to stimuli which affect some but not all members.
The study began when the visiting scholar Chih-Chiang Chen of National Yang-Ming University and Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan, arrived Los Angeles.
Chen is studying the effects of hair follicle injury and his research showed that hair injury persuaded the surrounding follicles for hair growth and plucking of hair is taken as an injury by the hair follicles.
Chen and his colleagues tested different pluck patterns and methods on the mice.
200 hair follicles were plucked from the back of the mice in different patterns; they noticed that there was no hair growth as they plucked the hair from more than 6 mm area in a low density pattern.
But when they plucked the hair from 3mm to 5mm area in high density pattern they noticed hair growth between 450 to 1300 hairs.
They noticed that when hair is plucked it secretes a distress signal to the surrounding where the surrounding hair follicle senses the signal.
Cheng-Ming Chuong, a professor of pathology at the Keck School of Medicine and principle investigator said, “By plucking hairs in the way we designed in the paper, we can make the population feel stress, then it will enter the regeneration phase all together as a population. If you just pluck one single hair, that is not enough of the distress signal.”
Researchers noticed that the distress signal releases inflammatory proteins which call the immune cells to the injury place and then immune cells will release signal which tell the plucked and unplucked region to grow hair.
The researchers are now planning to study the technique on humans with alopecia.
The findings are important as they can use for the treatment of alopecia but also it proves the principle of quorum sensing which could be mechanism for organ regeneration.