A hair-raising study claims high-fat diets can lead to baldness.
Scientists at Tokyo Medical and Dental University experimented on mice to examine how a high-fat diet or genetically induced obesity can affect hair thinning and loss.
They found that obesity can lead to depletion of “hair follicle stem cells” (HFSCs) which normally self-renew, allowing locks to grow.
As people get older, some HFSCs stop replenishing themselves which can lead to receding hairlines and thinning.
“High-fat diet feeding accelerates hair thinning by depleting HFSCs that replenish mature cells that grow hair, especially in old mice,” said lead author of the study Hironobu Morinaga.
“We compared the gene expression in HFSCs between HFD-fed mice and standard diet-fed mice and traced the fate of those HFSCs after their activation.
"We found that those HFSCs in HFD-fed obesed mice change their fate into the skin surface corneocytes or sebocytes that secrete sebum upon their activation.
“Those mice show faster hair loss and smaller hair follicles along with depletion of HFSCs.
“Even with HFD feeding in four consecutive days, HFSCs shows increased oxidative stress and the signs of epidermal differentiation.”
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Emi K. Nishimura added: “The gene expression in HFSCs from the high-fat-fed mice indicated the activation of inflammatory cytokine signalling within HFSCs.
“The inflammatory signals in HFSCs strikingly repress Sonic hedgehog signalling that plays a crucial role in hair follicle regeneration in HFSCs.”
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