lights up hair renewal
Stem cell therapy could be the “wave” of the future for hair regeneration, and biolumi- nescence imaging could help doctors monitor treatment.
The therapy has been shown to produce hair growth where other methods, including various creams and drugs, have proved less than successful.
“Hair regeneration using hair stem cells is a promising therapeutic option
emerging for hair loss, and molecular imaging can speed up the devel-
opment of this therapy,” said Byeong-Cheol Ahn, professor and di-
rector of the department of nuclear medicine at Kyungpook Na-
tional University School of Medicine and Hospital in Daegu,
Ahn’s recent study on animal models shows that the molecular imaging technique can be used to effectively track
hair regeneration by stem cell therapy.
Researchers currently are grafting hair stem cells in
animal models to determine whether these cells can
grow and multiply the way normal cells do.
In this study, Ahn and colleagues conducted bio-
luminescence imaging using firefly luciferase to-
gether with D-luciferin on hair follicle stem cells
implanted in mice to track the cells’ viability and
their development into hair follicles. They per-
formed the imaging technique on the implanted
cells five times over the course of 21 days.
The key finding was that molecular imaging
techniques can noninvasively visualize what hap-
pens to the transplanted hair stem cells in terms of
survival, death and proliferation during the forma-
tion of new hair follicles in mice.
Perhaps more importantly for potential human
patients, the scientists found new hair follicles on the
surface of the skin samples when they examined them
under the microscope.
“This study is the first study of hair follicle regenera-
tion using an in vivo molecular imaging technique,” Ahn
said – which means that more studies must be conducted be-
fore clinical trials can be put in place to determine whether the
therapy could work to regenerate human hair.
The research was presented at the Society of Nuclear Medicine’s
2012 annual meeting and published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.
Caren B. Les