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FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

The prostamide-related glaucoma therapy, bimatoprost, offers a novel approach for treating scalp alopecias.


PMID 23104985

Abstract

Balding causes widespread psychological distress but is poorly controlled. The commonest treatment, minoxidil, was originally an antihypertensive drug that promoted unwanted hair. We hypothesized that another serendipitous discovery, increased eyelash growth side-effects of prostamide F(2α)-related eyedrops for glaucoma, may be relevant for scalp alopecias. Eyelash hairs and follicles are highly specialized and remain unaffected by androgens that inhibit scalp follicles and stimulate many others. Therefore, we investigated whether non-eyelash follicles could respond to bimatoprost, a prostamide F(2α) analog recently licensed for eyelash hypotrichosis. Bimatoprost, at pharmacologically selective concentrations, increased hair synthesis in scalp follicle organ culture and advanced mouse pelage hair regrowth in vivo compared to vehicle alone. A prostamide receptor antagonist blocked isolated follicle growth, confirming a direct, receptor-mediated mechanism within follicles; RT-PCR analysis identified 3 relevant receptor genes in scalp follicles in vivo. Receptors were located in the key follicle regulator, the dermal papilla, by analyzing individual follicular structures and immunohistochemistry. Thus, bimatoprost stimulates human scalp follicles in culture and rodent pelage follicles in vivo, mirroring eyelash behavior, and scalp follicles contain bimatoprost-sensitive prostamide receptors in vivo. This highlights a new follicular signaling system and confirms that bimatoprost offers a novel, low-risk therapeutic approach for scalp alopecias.

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