More Insights on Prostaglandin D2 and the Possible Hair Cure

In the article recently published in Science Translational Medicine, it was shown that the enzyme prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) was elevated in bald scalps at the mRNA and protein levels.

In a group of 17 men, bald scalp was compared with haired scalp and showed elevated PGD2 levels. The authors also found that PGD2 and a related metabolite 15-dPGJ2 inhibited hair growth in both mice and men, providing insights into the prostaglandin pathway in genetic balding. They found a receptor in the bald scalp which is responsible for mediating the negative effects of PGD2, suggesting that therapeutic drug targets could be developed for a possible topical treatment. They have determined that this receptor may impact the hair characteristics (i.e. straight or curly).

Dr. Walter Unger wrote his take as follows:

Unfortunately, baldness is not caused by a single factor but rather multiple ones. The most important and well-known one is the correlation of balding with a male hormone called dihydrotestosterone (which is a byproduct of the more well-known testosterone). Specifically, we have known for many years that you cannot develop MPB unless you have an excess production of that hormone in the affected areas. Yet, many years later, we still do not have a “cure” for everybody’s baldness either in terms of stopping the progression in everybody or regrowing hair in everybody though anti-dihydrotestosterone drugs such as finasteride (Propecia) and Dutasteride certainly help many people with male pattern baldness (MPB) and female pattern hair loss (FPHL)—to varying degrees.

Dr. Garza’s and Dr. Cotsarelis’s announcement of the role of another factor, Prostaglandin D2 synthase, appears to represent another building block towards the ultimate goal of medical treatment of MPB and perhaps FPHL. However, we have no idea as yet, if it is, for example, more or less important than dihydrotestosterone or any other of the substances already implicated in MPB and FPHL. Unfortunately, despite the media frenzy, “the end of baldness” likely remains well down the road.

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Tags: hair loss, cure, hairloss, prostaglandin, pgd2

4 thoughts on “More Insights on Prostaglandin D2 and the Possible Hair Cure

  1. Ive read about numerous antiflammatory foods lowering PGD2 in the body, but I wonder if it would have an impact on the scalp?

  2. The study itself noted that DHT was a likely upstream regulator of PGD2 expression (the PGD2S gene is androgen-sensitive, meaning a hormone such as DHT could likely regulate its expression). Since PGD2 is downstream it could very well be a more effective therapeutic target for baldness. DHT is used throughout the body and targeting it faces the problem of impacting other systems (for example…the whole being male..getting an erection, having a sex drive) and as a result dosage is limited by those other factors (even then, many people show persistent sexual side effects). PGD2 on the other hand can be blocked locally from what it seems and will not make you get permanent ED. I consider this a huge development. I don’t know what that doctor is saying..this, in combination with other prostaglandin drugs, may actually be the cure. Dr Unger is a hair transplant surgeon and would lose his job if this is true. Bias anyone?

  3. @ educated:

    Yes Bias hands down. Although he is right with having doubts regarding the actual outcome of manipulating one’s PGD2, he is purely stating the obvious, there is a chance we find a way to entirely modify these systems while keeping them in balance with the rest of the body. We have done it before with so many things, despite the work required, heart transplant is an example. Note how he puts a doubt on this subject.

    This hair transplant surgeon puts no doubt on it being a solution not to expect anytime soon though.

    Also, he would be a fool to encourage people to not buy his product in respects to buisness management.

    props to you educated for not naively confusing science for marketing schemes.

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