Japanese Researchers Restore Lost Hair From Hair Follicle Stem Cells

Before now, it had appeared impossible to regrow our lost hair. The possibility of this may have been a major concern to humans especially the bald population. Having scientists who have developed a wide range of important materials in the laboratory ranging from retinas to meats it may not be surprising to find out that the question of hair regrowth will soon be solved, if not already solved.

Hair Loss

Hair Loss

The normal human hair growth pattern

The normal growth pattern of human hair includes; hair growth, death, and regrowth. In this pattern, growth happens during the prolonged anagen phase, when hairs differentiate and elongate while death occurs at the telogen phase. Therefore, for effective restoration of hair growth, all the phases must be observed.

Read Also: Role of IGF-1 in Regulating Hair Growth and its Effects on Hair Loss

The Study

At RIKEN Centre for Biosystems Dynamics Research, located in Japan. Scientists were able to synthesize a perfect ingredient for the constant revival of hairs from the stem cells of hair follicles. The Takashi Tsuji-led team has engaged in several studies on the regeneration of hair cells. In one of the most significant lab procedures, scientists spotted a group of stem cells to differentiate into hair follicles on the skin, followed by the invention of a new ingredient that could enhance their replication.

Whiskers and hair cells were harnessed from mice and cultivated on a biologically modified medium. Using about 220 organic combinations, they discovered that the NFFSE medium, which consists of a type of collagen and 5 other factors, enhanced the replication of hair cells in a minute interval.

In further tests, the team grew some of the modified hair follicle stem cells on an NFFSE medium and some others on a medium deficient in at least one component of the NFFSE medium and were monitored for a while. 81% of those grown on NFFSE medium reproduced normal hair cells and underwent a minimum of 3 hair cell cycles, while of those in the deficient media, 79% underwent just one hair cell cycle. This test buttress that the artificially modified hair cells can produce hairs capable of recycling.

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It was also determined that the hair cell recycling may depend on what is expressed on the outer surface of the cells, the expected CD49f and CD34 markers were detected on the surface of cells cultured in the NFFSE medium, together with the Itgβ5 marker which was expressed on the cells with the optimal recycling capability. The cells with this marker were shown to be naturally sited at the upper portion of the bulge region of the hair follicle, and according to the first author Makoto Takeo “We found almost 80% of follicles reached three hair cycles when Itgβ5 was also bioengineered into the hair follicle germ” he further stated, “In contrast, only 13% reached three cycles when it was not present.”


With this wonderful breakthrough, we do hope to see a new era in hair cell regeneration technology. According to the leader of the team, Tsuji, “Our culture system establishes a method for cyclical regeneration of hair follicles from hair follicle stem cells and will help make hair follicle regeneration therapy a reality in the near future.” With the completion of preclinical safety tests in animal models using these cultures in 2019, we do hope this technology will proceed to clinical trials.

Read Also: Hair Loss Breakthrough: Human Skin With Hair Created for the First Time


Expansion and characterization of epithelial stem cells with potential for cyclical hair regeneration



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