Hair Loss Study Abstract
A new method that allows mice to grow genetically modified hair may provide hope for a variety of dermatological conditions. Genetic modification of the hair shaft provides an attractive route for altering the appearance of hair and for treating dermatological disorders like acne and various types of baldness. However, efficient modification has proven rather elusive in previous attempts. Now in article, Robert Hoffman and colleagues describe a new, efficient method for genetically modifying hair shafts in mice. The researchers treated fragments of mouse skin with the enzyme collagenase to enhance gene transfer. They then used a common virus as a kind of molecular syringe to introduce the gene for green fluorescent protein (GFP)-the protein that gives jellyfish their eerie glow-into the skin fragments. The technique proved highly efficient, with GFP fluorescence observed in about 79% of the hair follicles. Going a step further, the team grafted the genetically modified skin fragments on to hairless mice. The efficiency of the genetic modification was maintained, and most of the follicles began producing GFP-fluorescent hair shafts. The authors suggest that this new strategy could someday be used to deliver a number of different genes to the hair follicles for both therapeutic and cosmetic purposes.
Norimitsu Saito, Ming Zhao, Lingna Li, Eugene Baranov, Meng Yang,Yukinori Ohta, Kensei Katsuoka, Sheldon Penman, and Robert M. Hoffman.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (DOI: /10.1073/pnas.192453799)