Bald end? Identification of the chemical that controls life and death in hair follicles – Neuroscience News

Summary: Researchers have discovered how the TGF-beta protein controls the process by which hair follicles, including stem cells, divide, form new cells or regulate apoptosis. The findings could provide new treatment options for baldness and treatments to speed wound healing.

source: UCR

One chemical is the key to controlling when hair follicle cells divide and when they die. This discovery can not only cure baldness, but ultimately speed up wound healing because follicles are a source of stem cells.

Most cells in the human body have a specific shape and function that is determined during embryonic development that does not change. For example, a blood cell cannot turn into a nerve cell, or vice versa. However, stem cells are like empty tiles in Scrabble; They can transform into other types of cells.

Its adaptability makes it useful for repairing damaged tissues or organs.

“In science fiction, when characters heal quickly from injuries, the idea is that stem cells allow it,” said UC Riverside mathematical biologist and study co-author Qixuan Wang.

“In real life, our new research brings us closer to understanding stem cell behavior, so we can control it and promote wound healing,” Wang said. This research was recently detailed Biophysical Journal Article – commodity.

The liver and stomach regenerate itself in response to wounds. However, Wang’s team studied hair follicles because they are the only organ in humans that automatically and periodically renew, even without injury.

The researchers determined how a type of protein, TGF-beta, controls the process by which cells in hair follicles, including stem cells, divide, form new cells, or regulate their death — ultimately causing the entire hair follicle to die.

This indicates a bald man's head
New research into factors that control the life and death of hair follicle cells could help people with baldness, as well as heal wounds. Credit: Helpaeatcontu

“TGF-beta has two opposite roles. It helps activate some hair follicle cells to produce new life and, later, helps regulate the process of apoptosis.”

As with many chemicals, it is the quantity that makes the difference. If a cell produces a certain amount of TGF-beta, it activates cell division. Too much of it causes programmed cell death.

No one knows exactly why the follicles kill themselves. Some hypotheses suggest it is an inherited trait from animals that shed their fur to survive hot summer temperatures or attempt to camouflage.

“Even when a hair follicle kills itself, it never kills its stock of stem cells. When the remaining stem cells receive a signal to regenerate, they divide, make a new cell, and develop into a new follicle,” Wang said.

If scientists can more accurately determine how TGF-beta activates cell division, and how the chemical communicates with other important genes, it may be possible to activate follicle stem cells and stimulate hair growth.

Since many animals, including humans, have skin covered with hair, optimal wound healing requires hair follicle regeneration. The ability to more precisely control TGF-beta levels could one day cure baldness, which bothers millions of people around the world.

“Our work has the potential to offer something to help people with a variety of problems,” Wang said.

About this baldness and genetics research news

author: Jules Bernstein
source: UCR
Contact: Jules Bernstein – University of California
picture: The image is attributed to Helpaeatcontu

see also

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original search: Access closed.
“A probabilistic rationale model for regulation of hair follicle cell fate by TGF-β” by Qixuan Wang et al. Biophysical Journal


A probabilistic rationale model for regulation of hair follicle cell fate by TGF-β.

Hair follicles (HFs) are small skin organs that undergo cyclic growth. Different signals jointly regulate HF cell fate decisions. Recent experimental results indicate that transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) exhibits a dual role in regulating HF cell fate which can be either anti- or pro-apoptotic.

To understand the underlying mechanisms of HF cell fate control, we developed a novel probabilistic boolean network (pBN) model on the dynamics of HF epithelial cell gene regulation. First, the model is derived from the literature, then refined using single-cell RNA sequencing data.

Using the model, we explore the mechanisms underlying HF cell fate decisions and make predictions that could guide future experiments: 1) We propose that a threshold-like switch in TGF-β potency may entail the dual roles of TGF-β either activating apoptosis or cell proliferation, in association with Bone-forming protein (BMP) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and at different stages of the follicle growth cycle; 2) Our model shows compatibility with the theory of high and low inhibitor of anagen initiation of inhibitors; 3) We speculate that TGF-β may be more effective in initiating TGF-β regression, and they may cooperate in a two-step manner; 4) Finally, predictors of gene knockdown and overexpression reveal roles in HF cell fate regulations for each gene.

Attractor and motif analysis from linked logical networks reveals the relationships between the topological structure of the gene regulatory network and the mechanism of cell fate regulation.

The pBN-supplied discrete spatial model demonstrates how TGF-ββ and TNF cooperate in initiating and driving the apoptotic wave during regression.

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