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

Alopecia is a condition that results in hair loss due to abnormal cell growth in the scalp, which may, in turn, be due to dysfunction in any signaling growth regulators involved in controlling the cell cycle. A research was conducted to see the effects that IGF-1 has on the growth of hair cells. It was observed that most of the patients suffering from a deficiency of IGF-1 had variable ranges of hair loss. The study also reported that alopecia was observed in a more severe form in cancer patients who had previously received surgical treatment. Hair loss was found to be more common among females, which may be due to the well-established close association between hormones and hair.



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Insulin growth Factor-1

Insulin growth Factor-1 plays an important role in follicular differentiation, growth of follicular hair, and tissue remodeling. Thus, IGF is thought to be an important signaling regulator in the hair cell cycle as well. It was Lurie who first suggested that IGF-1 can play an important role in hair growth. Children affected with Alopecia have a prominent forehead, scattered hair growth, and extremely thin hair, whereas, in adults, symptoms are slightly different in enhanced alopecia. While there was an enhanced rate of hair loss in adults, but with alopecia, a delay in the graying of hair was observed.

Study of Alopecia Case Reports 

Case 1: A 10- year old boy recommended by a dermatologist was found to have extremely thin hair and was diagnosed with hypotrichosis. However, he had no other visible symptoms associated with this disease. For his condition, he was undergoing therapy of Recombinant GH in a quantity of 0.9mg/day as prescribed by an endocrinologist. Additionally, his body growth was relatively slow for his age. Despite employing GH therapy, he had lowered levels of IGF-1 (19.6nmol/L). To increase the IGF-1, the HGH dose was increased up to 1 mg/day, after which improvement was observed in both body height and weight, while no effect in hair growth was observed.

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Case 2: A 25-year man was referred to a dermatologist for extremely thin hair and regressed temporal hairline. He had previously received several treatments for his condition, but he achieved no improvement in his hairline. After reviewing the personal history of the patient, his previous history of a hypophyseal surgical treatment about 25 years ago for Rathke’s cleft cyst was revealed. This surgery had reduced his IGF-1 level up to 3.0nmol/L, which may have consequently manifested as a regressing hairline.

Case 3: A 26 old woman with widened hair shaft and centroparietal thinning of hair had an increased width in the central area of hair. She was also undergoing several therapies and treatments for this with no results. When the family history of the woman was analyzed, it was found that her mother also had late-onset Alopecia. Other than that, it was also found that patient had been suffering from hypophyseal cancer 22 years ago, for which she had also undergone surgery and chemotherapy for cancer.

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Implication Of Study Findings

Signaling factors including IGF-1 play an important role in regulating the hair cell cycle. There are several more unexplored signaling molecules that play an important role in regulating the hair cell cycle. Dermal papillae are found to secrete growth regulators that play a significant role in controlling hair cell growth.

Luie and his team studied the effect of IGF-deficiency on hair growth. According to the study, most of the patients with IGF-deficiency had a prior history of surgical treatment, and 34% of the patients did not recover from the IGF-deficiency following surgery. The recovery rate was found to be higher in male patients as compared to females. The study also indicated a close relationship between hormones including Prolactin, estrogen, thyroid hormone, GH, IGF, and hair growth.

Treatment of Postoperative Hair Loss

Additionally, postoperative hair loss was more prevalent among females. Currently, there are several drugs being developed for the express purpose of increasing the IGF level and treating hair loss. One of the most important drugs currently being studied is Recombinant GH treatment.

Read Also: HGH and Its Anti Aging Effects On The Skin

Growth Hormone is also contemplated to have anti-aging effects by playing a role in reducing the signs of aging. Antiaging drugs have been found to play an important role in extending or increasing the life span in animal models. These drugs have contributed to generate a large amount of revenue due to increased demands globally

low There is also some mounting evidence that people with IGF-1 levels have lower risks of getting cancer. Some alternative therapies including Platelet-rich plasma therapy are currently being employed to treat IGF-deficiency as PRP contains cytokines and many other growth factors involved with cell differentiation.


Further Clinical Evidence for the Effect of IGF-1 on Hair Growth and Alopecia



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