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KU researchers trace link between cholesterol and hair growth

The team has discovered that the inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis causes permanent damage to hair follicles by promoting fibrosis

January 22, 2023 08:46 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:06 am IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Assistant professor P. Sreejith (centre) and the team of researchers of the Zoology department at Kerala University that conducted the study

Assistant professor P. Sreejith (centre) and the team of researchers of the Zoology department at Kerala University that conducted the study

Researchers of Kerala University have deduced a link between cholesterol and hair loss.

A study conducted by the Zoology department and the Advanced Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research in Cutaneous Biology (AcREM-Stem) in the university have discovered that the inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis causes permanent damage to hair follicles by promoting fibrosis.

The research that has been published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Reproduction laid stress on the role of cellular cholesterol (or endogenous cholesterol that is synthesised in the body) in hair growth, formation of hair follicles and the overall health of the skin. It found hair follicles with overactive fibrogenic responses to undergo tissue deterioration and disrupted homeostasis (ability to maintain internal stability in an organism).

The research team, which was supervised by assistant professor P. Sreejith of the Zoology department, comprised S. Najeeb, T.M. Binumon, S. Surya and L. Nikhila.

According to Mr. Najeeb, the lead author of the study, the research findings suggested that cholesterologenic changes leads to cicatricial alopecia, an inflammatory hair loss disorder that permanently destroys stem cells in hair follicles and causes scarring (or fibrosis). The research also established the significance of angiotensin, a peptide endocrine hormone, in hair follicle cells.

The scope of study has been widened to assess the extent of impact of statins (or cholesterol-lowering drugs) on hair loss. The researchers have collected inputs from 30 grama panchayats in the State as part of the study.

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